WAI Web Content Accessibility Working Group
Conference Call - Thursday, 18 February 1999
4:00 - 5:30 EST.

Table of contents

  1. Attendees
  2. Action item summary
  3. Guideline issues
    1. Regarding Tables
  4. Techniques issues
    1. EMBED element
    2. LAYER element
    3. CSS Recommendations
    4. FRAMESET Discussion
    5. Other issues
  5. Next meetings


WC: Wendy Chisholm - discussion leader
DD: Daniel Dardailler
IJ: Ian Jacobs
CL: Chuck Letourneau - notetaker, co-chair
CMN: Charles McCathieNevile

Regrets: Jason White, Gregg Vanderheiden

Action item summary

CL: Apologised for losing last week's notes.

Guideline issues

WC: do we remember the sense of the item regarding cognitive disabilities?
CMN: make it a P1 and draft some better explanatory language around appropriate level of text.
ACTION ITEM: Wendy to draft some new wording for this.

Regarding Tables

Wendy responded to Daniel's e-mail note: is this what we want?:

  1. Avoid using tables for layout [Priority 2]
  2. If a table is used for layout, do not use any structural markup for the purpose of visual formatting. For example, in HTML do not use the table header (TH) element to cause the contents of a cell to be displayed centred and in bold. Other attributes of a table, such as a caption describing the layout purpose and content of columns is valuable, particularly if some cells become navbars, frames, images, imagemaps, or lists of links. [Priority 1]
  3. For data tables, identify headers for rows and columns (e.g., the HTML TD and TH elements). [Priority 1]
  4. For data tables that have more than one row and/or more than one column of header cells, use markup to associate data cells and header cells (e.g., in HTML, THEAD, TFOOT, TBODY, COLGROUP, the "axis", "scope", and "headers" attributes, etc.). [Priority 1]
  5. Provide summaries for tables (e.g., via the "summary" attribute on HTML TABLE elements). [Priority 3]
  6. Provide abbreviations for header labels (e.g., in HTML, the "abbr" attribute on TH). [Priority 3]

Charles has raised a related point in regards to A.6.4 (see "Simple tables cause simple problems. The simple solution is to avoid saying, anywhere, anytime 'use tables for layout'. It is a bad thing. People will still do it, and people need to be able to use tables for tabular information, so solutions are still necessary. But we are currently giving a mixed message by encouraging people to use simple tables.

WC: so just get rid of the note and leave A.6.4 as it is. Add A.8.1.

WC: This closes issues for the Guidelines document unless anyone has further comments

Some discussion about the injunction against auto-refreshing pages. We agreed it should be P2 and should have clearer example(s) in the techniques.
CMN: example pages that need to be freezable might be stock-ticker pages or sports-score update pages.
P1 if there is real information that is auto-refreshing
P2 for pages that automatically redirect to "the real page"
WC: we should reword the checkpoint and draft some more useful examples in the techniques document.
DD: definitely describe the various ways
ACTION ITEM: DD: volunteers to draft the language for the techniques document
DD concerned about showing examples of things we don't want them to do in the first place. Instead he will work on the wording of a statement rather than show examples.

ACTION ITEM: Ian and Wendy to look at format of checklist to distinguish priority 1, 2, and 3 statements DD: suggesting grouping them.

WC: Last call scheduled for end of next week. With proposed rec in 4 weeks. Are people feeling the Guidelines are ready for last call?

CMN: has vague reservations on the Dynamic HTML sections and the way to resolve it is to indicate clearly that we cannot fully deal with it and will revisit in the near future.
IJ: there is a note in the UA guidelines - he read it.
CMN: wouldn't use that in the WCA since we really don't tell people how to make scripts and events accessible since we really don't know how to do some of those things. Suspects we haven't addressed all the issues and should make some statement that there will be further work in this area in the future.
WC: where should something like that go? In an introductory section.
IJ: it is in an introductory, definition section in the UA guidelines.
WC: UA has definitions up front while WCA has it's glossary in the back. That is one difference.
IJ: would rather not mention it at all.
CMN: but that would be a problem if there is nothing concrete (and no indication of the importance)
WC: originally we would include a definition like UA has, then point to the various checkpoints that deal with it.
CMN: certainly mention the bits and pieces we do mention.
ACTION ITEM: CMN will write something he thinks covers his points and post it to the list for discussions.

Techniques issues

EMBED element

WC: read the proposed options from the Issues list. Asked which one (if any) option we should recommend.
CMN: Embed does support alt-text (at least some browsers do).
Some further discussion.
WC: has had a student working on EMBED and can ask to look at the accessibility of EMBED.
CMN: should go with option 2.
DD: Wants a in guidelines checkpoint that mentions EMBED that links to an appropriate section in the techniques doc even though it is proprietary.

LAYER element

Don't use it. It is only supported in Netscape 4. much less used than EMBED.
WC read proposed options.
WC: it is proprietary and covered in A.14 - proprietary - don't use it.
Consensus: don't mention it.
IJ: can the techniques mention that layering should be done through layout, positioning, ...

CSS Recommendations

WC: Daniel propose in an e-mail on Feb 15 (CSS guidelines) some guidelines for CSS usage in the Techniques document. These were collected from throughout the CSS guidelines.
Some discussion followed.
WC: we will put these into Techniques doc in the section about CSS.

FRAMESET Discussion

IJ: Do we have anything that actually tells the user how to make an accessible frame set?
CMN: not really. In a reasonable complex frame set you can use noframes fairly easily and it is not terribly difficult to implement an accessible. We don't have any first class examples.
WC added an example that used longdesc, noframes, and everything else.
CMN: would make the example a larger example - i.e. a more complex example of what would appear in the frames.
ACTION ITEM: He has an example that he has built and will send it to Wendy and Chuck (who might be able to use it in the Page Author Curriculum examples.
IJ: Frame-like effects can be created using CSS. Should we give examples or are we going too far there.
WC: do we want some discussion in Techniques about frames and CSS.
ACTION ITEM: Wendy and Ian to take this discussion offline.

Other issues

Using NOFRAMES in the BODY element - needs more testing. Wendy will do that this week.

ACCESSKEY - will leave it until more browsers and people use them. We can't really see what the issues will be until more implementations are available. Are there implications for future versions of HTML and since we can't answer that, we will ignore for now.

Device Dependent Events issues.
WC: have other groups been dealing with it?
IJ: UA has been dealing with it.
CMN: and it went to PF to HTML etc.
WC: how about asking that both mouse and keyboard events be supported for each action?
DD, CMN : if it is eye-candy it is irrelevant. If it doesn't change the meaning of the document then the injunction is not necessary.
CMN: thinks it really needs to go out to PF etc. for fleshing out.
DD: scripts that require the x-y mouse co-ordinates to fire the action should be strongly worded against.
WC: everyone agrees that there should be some wording in the techniques.
ACTION ITEM: Wendy and Ian to draft some appropriate wording.

WC: Ian and Wendy have been working on an introduction section. When should we send it to the WG for review. Thinks today would be good.
ACTION ITEM: IJ: lets Wendy and IJ talk after the conf call.

Next meetings

Next meetings scheduled for Feb 25, March 4 and March 11