[thelist] defined table width and accessibility

aardvark evolt at roselli.org
Wed Jun 1 08:08:00 CDT 2005

On 1 Jun 2005 at 12:28, Ian Anderson wrote:
> >in general, leaving off the widths of absolute pixels is a good 
> >idea... let the CSS do that for you... then you can serve CSS to 
> >specific devices (like palmtops, for example, or the printed page)...
> >
> >coding widths into the page can only wreak havoc for those not on 
> >traditional PCs...
> >
> Do you have any documented cases you are referring to here? I may be way 
> off beam, but isn't this just repeating "accepted wisdom", or 
> considering cases that are theoretical? In my opinion, there is a lot of 
> hoo-hah talked about narrow screen widths by people, myself included, 
> who haven't actually tested it to see how these things actually work.

documented, no... but i do have experience in testing these for my 
clients or specific projects... years ago i even wrote up an article 
about testing screen sizes vs. window sizes for desktop browsers 
(http://evolt.org/Screen_Stats_2/)... i've just continued that kind 
of testing internally with clients...

> I'm surprised they would sell many UAs that can't convert fixed width 
> layouts to their own needs. A PDA that can't access bbc.co.uk, or 
> virtually any corporate web site in use today? How crap would that be? I 
> know some of them scale images to fit the screen - how hard is it to 
> ignore table widths?

many of them can... we have some PDAs we've used to test, and in some 
cases, they ignore it... but the thing to remember is that if you are 
relying on a fixed width, then likely so are your images, and other 
elements... that's when it all falls apart...

also, using Opera's handheld browser view is a handy way to see what 
can happen in a device enabled with that browser (if that ever 
happens mass-market)...

> I think this is the responsibility of the UA, not the designer. I 
> personally don't have access to any hand-held web device and so have no 
> personal data. Does anyone else? Is there a table of narrow-screen UAs 
> and their behaviour/support for web techniques somewhere?

the Dell Axim at my desk is 240x320, and with so many sites 
targetting higher and higher resolutions (800x600 and greater), you 
should see how it breaks them...

for the most part, the content is still available, but the images are 
scaled or displaced...

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