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Re: CSS 2 and WCAG 1.0 Priority 2


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: May 12, 2003 11:55PM

On Tue, 13 May 2003, Mary Suski wrote:

> To qualify a site for WCAG 1.0 "Double-A" conformance, does everyone
> agree that style sheets, rather than tables, must be used for layout?
> (True data tables excluded.)

No. WCAG 1.0 does not forbid the use of tables for layout; it contains
specific rules for layout tables, so apparently it postulates the
possibility of using them. The real accessibility impact of layout tables
is a different issue. Surely it varies greatly, from miniscule to major

> Here's a link to the accessibility section of the site in question:
> http://test.grandblancchamber.com/accessibility/accesstech.htm.

I wonder what the purpose of such a page is. Is it meant to help disabled
people, or to proclaim some purported achievements? For example, does it
explain in simple English how to _use_ the accessibility features of the
site? (Normally no such explanations should be needed, but for practical
reasons they are sometimes useful.)

> What I
> really want is to get this site as close to "Triple A" as possible using
> one well formed version without resorting to delivering a "plain"
> presentation to NN4 users, or producing multiple versions of the same
> site.

Do do you aim at Double-A or Triple-A? I'm a bit confused.

Simple, well-linearizable layout tables, properly implemented, are a
rather minor issue in accessibility. In fact, _what_ you do with them is
usually more important than _how_ you do that. Typically, there are too
many "navigational" links, often in confusingly organized different sets.
Even a "normal" person gets lost, and a person with subnormal cognitive
capabilities may have great difficulties in differentiating content from
repeated navigation. "Skip navigation" links may solve some problems, but
they are a symptom of a wider range of problems that they _don't_ address.

But if massive repeated navigational links are used, then CSS positioning
as opposite to layout tables _may_ help. It would let you put the nav
stuff at the end in non-CSS presentation, yet position it anywhere you
like in a visual CSS-enabled presentation. And it could be done e.g. so
that Netscape 4 doesn't "see" the stylesheet, or maybe even so that
Netscape 4 doesn't get confused with it.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

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