HTML for Disabled People?

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I am just about to start developing a website for a disabled organisation,
so obviously it need to be visible to people with a wide range of

Most we can deal with, but I am a little lost with designing for blind

I know that blind web users have 'screen readers' to read out the content to
them and that we must use alt tags on all images without fail.  However, I
am not sure what order these 'screen readers' read the page in.  If I lay
the page out in a table with a varying number of rows and columns, can
anyone tell me what row and column gets read in what order.  I am guessing
row 1 first, then row 2 etc., and where there are multiple colums, column 1
first then column 2 etc.  Is there any way of changing the order it is read?
I want to have navigation down the left and right of my page with the main
info in the centre column, and I want the centre column read first if

Any help or advice for building for disabled people would be helpful.


Re: HTML for Disabled People?

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You can use CSS to suggest how the various parts of the page will be
displayed, but if your style sheet is overridden, and you have layed your
content out correctly, it will still be read in a logical order. Take a look
at CSS Zengarden to see how different - and no -
style sheets work on one html document.


Nigel Moss.

Email address is not valid. Take the dog out! | Boycott E$$O!!
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is very, very busy!

Re: HTML for Disabled People?

Keith wrote:
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A linearising browser will by default read each row in turn, and render (eg.
speak) the contents of one cell before moving on to the next. Some (perhaps
all?) such browsers provide user-controls to navigate in different ways. For
example, IBM's Home Page Reader has a table navigation mode (Alt + T). There
is a way to change the linearisation order of a 3-column table so that the
centre column appears before the side columns. For example: /

One body that has examined with is the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative. They
have published guidelines on the matter of how to use layout tables in such a
way that they can be handled by accessibility technology. Here is a key
reference, resulting from conclusions they reached in 1999:
5.3 Do not use tables for layout unless the table makes sense when linearized.
Otherwise, if the table does not make sense, provide an alternative equivalent
(which may be a linearized version). [Priority 2]
5.4 If a table is used for layout, do not use any structural markup for the
purpose of visual formatting. [Priority 2]

Here are some other references on this topic:

From "Building Accessible Websites" (Joe Clark), how to build accessible

A Dreamweaver resource that is actually more generic advice:

From University of Toronto: /

Barry Pearson / / /

Re: HTML for Disabled People?

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That is kind of strange argument, as it is more often used as best reason
to use CSS layout. Users that override CSS in IE usually are such that
they can't use table layouted thing at all.

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People can and do use CSS to override HTML too. In fact, that is often
even easier, which is luckily as sites done using HTML layout are more
often shitty.

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It's unlikely that you need nested tables, unless you actually use them
for tabular data, and rare even then. More likely, you don't know how to
do table layout.

I would say that there is less people knowing how to do good table layout
than how to do gopod CSS layout. And as most of those that know how to
make good table layout also know how to make good CSS layout, good table
layouts are very rare.

Do not top post.

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