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Re: tables vs. layers


From: reply-to:to:subject:in-reply-to:mime-version:content-type:content-transfer-encoding:references;
Date: Dec 1, 2004 1:58PM

On Wed, 1 Dec 2004 15:20:20 -0500, karen.looney
> Can anyone tell me the pro's and con's to using tables / layers for
> designing the layout of a website?

IMHO, good accessibility begins w/ good structural semantics. I'm a
proponent of the "write once, use anywhere by everyone" approach to
web development, and creating good, semantically-logical markup is 90%
of the accessibility battle. To that end, tables were originally
conceived for the purpose of presenting related data in a tabular
format. Period. When you introduce tables into your markup in a
semantic manner inconsistent w/ their design, you are also introducing
accessibility hurdles into your document. Granted, I will acknowledge
that most of the time those hurdles are small and easily overcome, but
their hurdles nonetheless. On the flip side, good semantic markup
that uses CSS to drive the presentational end eliminates that

And granted again, there are certain things you can do w/ table
layouts that just aren't possible at this time using CSS. However,
with the CSS support of modern browsers getting better each day, those
items are few and far between. They're also cosmetic, presentational
things that can be avoided w/ alternative design approaches. One of
the most important concepts web developers need to latch onto is that
the web is an informational medium first, and a presentational medium
second. For best accessibility across the widest array of platforms,
mark that information up correctly.

Bryce Fields, Web Developer
Where I Work: Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
Where I Play: www.royalrodent.com

"Do or do not! There is no try!" -- Yoda