What is wrong with using HTML tables for layout?

HTML tables were originally intended to be used for presenting tabular data, not for layout. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C®) discourages use of tables for layout because they are striving for a web in which content and structure are completely separate from presentation. This allows content to be rendered meaningfully across a wide variety of devices. In the W3C's world view, cascading style sheets (CSS) is the vehicle by which presentation and layout are defined.

Does CSS positioning eliminate the need for a "skip navigation" link?

With CSS, navigational menus can appear visually at the top of a document, despite their location at the bottom of the document in the HTML source code. This technique is gaining popularity because by placing the main content first in the document's source code, websites can potentially attain better search engine placement. This technique also eliminates the need for a "skip navigation" link, since screen readers don't read the navigation links until the end. However, it creates the opposite problem: The need for an efficient means of jumping quickly to the navigation system.

What is the current recommendation for providing long descriptions for complex graphics?

In HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), the "longdesc" attribute was specifically designed to allow for long descriptions of complex images. This contrasts with the "alt" attribute, which describes relatively simple images using a minimal amount of text. The "longdesc" attribute allows authors to link to a separate page (for example, longdesc="") in which the image is described in detail. This is particularly useful for complex images such as graphs and charts.

Where can I find online resources for learning about accessible information technology?

The following sampling of online resources includes both websites and discussion lists related to accessible information technology. Many of the websites listed include online courses and/or tutorials.


Resources on electronic and information technology, postsecondary education, and careers for people with disabilities.

What Federal civil rights laws cover the obligations of postsecondary institutions to develop and maintain accessible websites?

In most cases of discrimination on the basis of disability in a postsecondary institution, and certainly in web accessibility cases, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (§504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) will be appropriate avenues for bringing a complaint. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has responsibility for enforcing both these federal laws in public educational settings and would hear a complaint regarding inaccessible websites.