W3 org Accessibility

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Ingo Griegert, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. I am quite interested to hear how other people go about following W3 Org
    Accessibility issues.

    I myself have learned HTML years ago and have so far stuck to what I have
    learnt. I have to admit I never bothered that much with keeping up-to-date
    with the current W3 recommendations. Fair enough, I used css to format
    fonts, but I tried to stay away from using stylesheets for positioning
    content and graphics as much as possible, simple for the reason that I
    wanted older browsers to be able to display my pages as well as possible.

    Now I finally brought myself to having a look into the Accessibility
    recommendations and had to realise that I am not supposed to use tables for
    the graphical layout of my pages anymore. Instead, the recommendation says
    to use stylsheets for all the graphical layout, if possible:
    http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-CORE-TECHS/#structure

    So how about you guys - do you stick to these recommendations? Do you find
    it easy to create your layouts using positioning with css? I have used a few
    layers for dropdowns, etc, but I have never tried to create a layout with
    css that fills the entire screen. I have got the feeling that there were
    issues in some browsers (eg on the Mac) that layers cannot be positioned
    relative to the right side of the screen. I can do that with tables, so why
    use styles instead?

    Also: use text equivalent for every non-text element.
    http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/wai-pageauth.html#tech-text-equivalent
    Well, I have used alt so far for images that had a major importance in
    understanding or navigating the website. Let's say every button in a
    navigation bar had an alt value. But do we really have to go that far and
    give every single Spacer-image a text description? For people who have
    turned off their images or cannot view them on their browsers, I think it
    would be more confusing seeing all those descriptions that are completely
    irrelevant, than having only the few descriptions that are of importance.

    Wow, long post, but this is how it hit me when I read on the recommendations
    today. Would be good to hear your 10 cents.
     
    Ingo Griegert, Oct 19, 2003
    #1
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  2. Ingo Griegert wrote:

    > So how about you guys - do you stick to these recommendations? Do you find
    > it easy to create your layouts using positioning with css?


    Yes.

    > I have used a few
    > layers for dropdowns, etc,


    http://dorward.me.uk/www/layers/

    > but I have never tried to create a layout with
    > css that fills the entire screen. I have got the feeling that there were
    > issues in some browsers (eg on the Mac) that layers cannot be positioned
    > relative to the right side of the screen. I can do that with tables, so why
    > use styles instead?


    Accessibility.

    > Also: use text equivalent for every non-text element.
    > http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/wai-pageauth.html#tech-text-equivalent
    > Well, I have used alt so far for images that had a major importance in
    > understanding or navigating the website. Let's say every button in a
    > navigation bar had an alt value. But do we really have to go that far and
    > give every single Spacer-image a text description?


    No, because you shouldn't have spacer images.

    > For people who have
    > turned off their images or cannot view them on their browsers, I think it
    > would be more confusing seeing all those descriptions that are completely
    > irrelevant, than having only the few descriptions that are of importance.


    If you use images correctly, alt text will be important.
     
    Leif K-Brooks, Oct 19, 2003
    #2
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  3. "Leif K-Brooks" <> wrote in message
    news:lwlkb.419$...
    > Ingo Griegert wrote:
    >
    > > So how about you guys - do you stick to these recommendations? Do you

    find
    > > it easy to create your layouts using positioning with css?

    >
    > Yes.
    >
    > > I have used a few
    > > layers for dropdowns, etc,

    >
    > http://dorward.me.uk/www/layers/
    >
    > > but I have never tried to create a layout with
    > > css that fills the entire screen. I have got the feeling that there were
    > > issues in some browsers (eg on the Mac) that layers cannot be positioned
    > > relative to the right side of the screen. I can do that with tables, so

    why
    > > use styles instead?

    >
    > Accessibility.


    Important, I agree. But even accessible pages should look good in general
    browsers. Do you know whether the issue of positioning elements relative to
    the right screen has been solved?
     
    Ingo Griegert, Oct 19, 2003
    #3
  4. Ingo Griegert wrote:

    > Important, I agree. But even accessible pages should look good in general
    > browsers. Do you know whether the issue of positioning elements relative to
    > the right screen has been solved?


    Older versions of browsers are never "solved", so no.
     
    Leif K-Brooks, Oct 19, 2003
    #4
  5. "Leif K-Brooks" <> wrote in message
    news:CPlkb.423$...
    > Ingo Griegert wrote:
    >
    > > Important, I agree. But even accessible pages should look good in

    general
    > > browsers. Do you know whether the issue of positioning elements relative

    to
    > > the right screen has been solved?

    >
    > Older versions of browsers are never "solved", so no.


    Let's say: do the latest versions of IE, Netscape (and Safari) on Mac and PC
    all support above mentioned positioning?
     
    Ingo Griegert, Oct 19, 2003
    #5
  6. Ingo Griegert wrote:

    > Let's say: do the latest versions of IE, Netscape (and Safari) on Mac and PC
    > all support above mentioned positioning?


    AFAIK, yes.
     
    Leif K-Brooks, Oct 19, 2003
    #6
  7. Ingo Griegert

    TheKeith Guest

    "Ingo Griegert" <> wrote in message
    news:bmsn88$10um$...
    > I am quite interested to hear how other people go about following W3 Org
    > Accessibility issues.
    >
    > I myself have learned HTML years ago and have so far stuck to what I have
    > learnt. I have to admit I never bothered that much with keeping up-to-date
    > with the current W3 recommendations. Fair enough, I used css to format
    > fonts, but I tried to stay away from using stylesheets for positioning
    > content and graphics as much as possible, simple for the reason that I
    > wanted older browsers to be able to display my pages as well as possible.
    >
    > Now I finally brought myself to having a look into the Accessibility
    > recommendations and had to realise that I am not supposed to use tables

    for
    > the graphical layout of my pages anymore. Instead, the recommendation says
    > to use stylsheets for all the graphical layout, if possible:
    > http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-CORE-TECHS/#structure
    >
    > So how about you guys - do you stick to these recommendations? Do you find
    > it easy to create your layouts using positioning with css?


    I'm currently converting all of the pages in my site, to conform to the w3
    specs, and I have to say that ultimately, styles offer more felxibility than
    the old way. It's really a question of learning how to use them properly.
    I'm havnig a rough time eliminating all of my tables as well, but with
    styles like "float" and absolute positioning, you'll discover that you
    really don't need the tables after all, and if eliminating them gets you the
    w3c validation, it's all the more worth it. You'll have the upper hand in
    the long run.


    I have used a few
    > layers for dropdowns, etc, but I have never tried to create a layout with
    > css that fills the entire screen. I have got the feeling that there were
    > issues in some browsers (eg on the Mac) that layers cannot be positioned
    > relative to the right side of the screen. I can do that with tables, so

    why
    > use styles instead?


    you can do it with styles. I actually learned this just yesterday. Let's say
    you want to align and element to the right:
    <div style="width:200px; height:200px; margin-left:auto">Content</div>
    this will align it to the right of the page.



    > Also: use text equivalent for every non-text element.
    > http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/wai-pageauth.html#tech-text-equivalent
    > Well, I have used alt so far for images that had a major importance in
    > understanding or navigating the website. Let's say every button in a
    > navigation bar had an alt value. But do we really have to go that far and
    > give every single Spacer-image a text description? For people who have
    > turned off their images or cannot view them on their browsers, I think it
    > would be more confusing seeing all those descriptions that are completely
    > irrelevant, than having only the few descriptions that are of importance.


    for purely graphical elements in your site, you can just have alt="" -- you
    can skip the text. If it's anything important though, use alt text. As for
    spacer gifs, they're not needed if you learn how to use styles well enough.
    There are all kinds of ways of producing space where you need it: margins,
    padding, etc.

    Do it with styles--you're conforming to a standard and at the same time,
    saving yourself all kinds of unnecessary markup by not worrying about the
    various browser "quirks."
     
    TheKeith, Oct 19, 2003
    #7
  8. Thanks for the input, Keith! That should get me going.

    "TheKeith" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > "Ingo Griegert" <> wrote in message
    > news:bmsn88$10um$...
    > > I am quite interested to hear how other people go about following W3 Org
    > > Accessibility issues.
    > >
    > > I myself have learned HTML years ago and have so far stuck to what I

    have
    > > learnt. I have to admit I never bothered that much with keeping

    up-to-date
    > > with the current W3 recommendations. Fair enough, I used css to format
    > > fonts, but I tried to stay away from using stylesheets for positioning
    > > content and graphics as much as possible, simple for the reason that I
    > > wanted older browsers to be able to display my pages as well as

    possible.
    > >
    > > Now I finally brought myself to having a look into the Accessibility
    > > recommendations and had to realise that I am not supposed to use tables

    > for
    > > the graphical layout of my pages anymore. Instead, the recommendation

    says
    > > to use stylsheets for all the graphical layout, if possible:
    > > http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-CORE-TECHS/#structure
    > >
    > > So how about you guys - do you stick to these recommendations? Do you

    find
    > > it easy to create your layouts using positioning with css?

    >
    > I'm currently converting all of the pages in my site, to conform to the w3
    > specs, and I have to say that ultimately, styles offer more felxibility

    than
    > the old way. It's really a question of learning how to use them properly.
    > I'm havnig a rough time eliminating all of my tables as well, but with
    > styles like "float" and absolute positioning, you'll discover that you
    > really don't need the tables after all, and if eliminating them gets you

    the
    > w3c validation, it's all the more worth it. You'll have the upper hand in
    > the long run.
    >
    >
    > I have used a few
    > > layers for dropdowns, etc, but I have never tried to create a layout

    with
    > > css that fills the entire screen. I have got the feeling that there were
    > > issues in some browsers (eg on the Mac) that layers cannot be positioned
    > > relative to the right side of the screen. I can do that with tables, so

    > why
    > > use styles instead?

    >
    > you can do it with styles. I actually learned this just yesterday. Let's

    say
    > you want to align and element to the right:
    > <div style="width:200px; height:200px; margin-left:auto">Content</div>
    > this will align it to the right of the page.
    >
    >
    >
    > > Also: use text equivalent for every non-text element.
    > > http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/wai-pageauth.html#tech-text-equivalent
    > > Well, I have used alt so far for images that had a major importance in
    > > understanding or navigating the website. Let's say every button in a
    > > navigation bar had an alt value. But do we really have to go that far

    and
    > > give every single Spacer-image a text description? For people who have
    > > turned off their images or cannot view them on their browsers, I think

    it
    > > would be more confusing seeing all those descriptions that are

    completely
    > > irrelevant, than having only the few descriptions that are of

    importance.
    >
    > for purely graphical elements in your site, you can just have alt="" --

    you
    > can skip the text. If it's anything important though, use alt text. As for
    > spacer gifs, they're not needed if you learn how to use styles well

    enough.
    > There are all kinds of ways of producing space where you need it: margins,
    > padding, etc.
    >
    > Do it with styles--you're conforming to a standard and at the same time,
    > saving yourself all kinds of unnecessary markup by not worrying about the
    > various browser "quirks."
    >
    >
     
    Ingo Griegert, Oct 19, 2003
    #8
  9. Ingo Griegert wrote:

    > Let's say: do the latest versions of IE, Netscape (and Safari) on Mac and
    > PC all support above mentioned positioning?


    Yes... as well as other CSS layout techniques.

    --
    David Dorward http://dorward.me.uk/
     
    David Dorward, Oct 19, 2003
    #9
  10. Leif K-Brooks wrote:

    >> I can do that with tables, so why use styles instead?

    >
    > Accessibility.


    and easy of use
    and bandwidth
    and speed
    and the ability to provide different layouts for different medias (e.g.
    screen and print) without requiring the user to manually visit a different
    page.

    --
    David Dorward http://dorward.me.uk/
     
    David Dorward, Oct 19, 2003
    #10
  11. David Dorward pounced upon this pigeonhole and pronounced:
    > Leif K-Brooks wrote:
    >
    > >> I can do that with tables, so why use styles instead?

    > >
    > > Accessibility.

    >
    > and easy of use
    > and bandwidth
    > and speed


    Yes, yes, and yes.

    > and the ability to provide different layouts for different medias (e.g.
    > screen and print) without requiring the user to manually visit a different
    > page.


    When I first found out I could alter the printed page with just a few
    lines in a style sheet, I was ecstatic. With a proper design, there is no
    reason to create a separate "printer friendly" page, for most normal
    circumstances. Quite the bargain, actually.

    --
    -bts
    -This space intentionally left blank.
     
    Beauregard T. Shagnasty, Oct 19, 2003
    #11
  12. Ingo Griegert

    Chris Morris Guest

    "Ingo Griegert" <> writes:
    > Let's say: do the latest versions of IE, Netscape (and Safari) on Mac and PC
    > all support above mentioned positioning?


    I've managed to get decent positioning support out of
    Mozilla 1+ (and Netscape 6, so Mozilla 0+, I suppose)
    IE 5+ (though 5.0 needs more attention)
    Opera 5+ (again, 6+ is better)
    Konqueror 3+ (haven't got 2 to test with)

    Everything else on my test boxes had acceptable fallback, usually with
    better linearisation than if I'd used a tables layout.

    --
    Chris
     
    Chris Morris, Oct 19, 2003
    #12
  13. Ingo Griegert

    Eric Bohlman Guest

    David Dorward <> wrote in
    news:bmtm8m$nqe$2$:

    > Leif K-Brooks wrote:
    >
    >>> I can do that with tables, so why use styles instead?

    >>
    >> Accessibility.

    >
    > and easy of use
    > and bandwidth
    > and speed
    > and the ability to provide different layouts for different medias
    > (e.g. screen and print) without requiring the user to manually visit a
    > different page.


    and the ability to alter your layout/presentation, even quite drastically,
    for an entire site by making minor changes to a single file. This makes it
    much easier to experiment with layouts, increasing the chances of coming up
    with an optimal one (often you can't tell what the optimal layout should
    look like until you've seen a few suboptimal ones; with "traditional"
    table-and-spacer based layouts, by the time you've got a suboptimal layout
    you've got so much work invested in it that there's a strong barrier to
    change). And it makes it *much* easier to make changes to
    layout/presentation based on customer requirements (such changes, of
    course, always being requested at the very last minute).

    and the ability to separate the tasks of content/structure creation and
    layout/presentation creation, enabling you to do a better job on each of
    them and, for a multi-developer site, enabling better delegation of tasks.
    It also eliminates the tendency to force-fit the content/structure into a
    prematurely-chosen layout; instead you'll wind up with a layout that fits
    it naturally.
     
    Eric Bohlman, Oct 19, 2003
    #13
  14. "Ingo Griegert" <> wrote:

    > Now I finally brought myself to having a look into the
    > Accessibility recommendations and had to realise that I am not
    > supposed to use tables for the graphical layout of my pages
    > anymore.


    That's not really among the most important principles. If you try to
    check your page with a text-only browser, or in a 300 pixels wide
    graphic window with font size set to 14pt, you will probably detect
    more serious issues. The WAI guidelines don't favor tables for layout,
    but they have rather mild critique on them _as such_. It all depends on
    what you do with tables.

    > I have used a few layers for dropdowns, etc, but I have never tried
    > to create a layout with css that fills the entire screen.


    Good for you. It would be foolish to use CSS just to repeat the old
    mistakes.

    > Also: use text equivalent for every non-text element.


    Isn't that pretty obvious?

    > But do we really have to go
    > that far and give every single Spacer-image a text description?


    No. The key word is _alternative_. Not description. The W3C is confused
    about this, but you need not be.

    > Wow, long post,


    Well, tolerably long. But if you want help with a specific site with
    some specific constructs and problems, you need to reveal the URL.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Oct 21, 2003
    #14
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