Oh yes, I’m working for the government. Making the web site of one of the main government departments accessible. Well, more accessible than it is at present. Full accessibility will wait until a new site is launched sometime next year.
Yesterday someone came in to say hello and saw a sketch of many nested rectangles I’d made on paper.
“Is that our template?”
“That’s part of your template.”
Then I showed him what I’d been working on – Firefox with the Web Developer extension and the “Outline Table Cells” option enabled. In one tab I had a page from the live site and in another tab I had a copy of the same page that I had been working one. One was almost totally red the other wasn’t.
The brief is accessibility, and the nested tables, although excessive, did linearise acceptably and were mostly sized with percentages. So why did I bother? Accessibility it not just about users with disabilities. It’s about users who, for any reason, have problems accessing the site. Any user on dialup will see the difference – the page has gone from 51kb to 36kb already and I’m sure that I’ll be making further reductions.
And there’s more: the div version looks better (both tidier and truer to the design) in Netscape 4.x than the table version did. Backwards compatability by using more modern code.
Your tax money = my beer money + a faster, more compatible, more accessible web site.