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Best way to markup and style forum posts?

 
 
Leif K-Brooks
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      08-01-2004
I'm working on a forum, which I want to be compliant and accessible. The
general layout which looks nicest in visual browsers with CSS support
is <http://tw.ecritters.biz/html_examples/forums/prettyforum.html>, but
it's hard to understand without CSS support, and (I'm guessing, though I
don't have one to test with) in aural browsers.
<http://tw.ecritters.biz/html_examples/forums/uglyforum.html>, on the
other hand, should be fairly accessible, but doesn't look too nice. Any
suggestions for markup and styling which is both accessible and pretty?
Or do other sets of eyes think the second example looks good enough to use?
 
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Toby Inkster
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      08-01-2004
Leif K-Brooks wrote:

> <http://tw.ecritters.biz/html_examples/forums/uglyforum.html>, on the
> other hand, should be fairly accessible, but doesn't look too nice. Any
> suggestions for markup and styling which is both accessible and pretty?


Forum threads are tricky. The data does seem to naturally sit as a table
-- a column for user names, a column for user status, a column for the
post itself, a column for the date posted, etc...

But then you end up with too many columns and the post itself gets
squished.

The solution is consolidation -- scrap the user name and user status
columns and replace them with a single "user info" column that contains
the data for both. Similarly the date and your "delete, reply" options can
all go in one "message" column. There -- two columns. Not ugly and not
*too* bad semantically.

Observe forum here: http://www.huzzie.org/forum/

(I won't claim that Huzzie.org is the most accessible site -- I didn't pay
an awful lot of attention to accessibility when building it -- but it's
not too bad and certainly better than they used to have.)

--
Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
Contact Me ~ http://tobyinkster.co.uk/contact

 
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Leif K-Brooks
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      08-01-2004
Toby Inkster wrote:
> Observe forum here: http://www.huzzie.org/forum/


The problem with that, in my opinion, is that usernames and user types
aren't clearly marked as such. The order of fields gives some
indication, of course, but not enough IMHO.
 
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Toby Inkster
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      08-01-2004
Leif K-Brooks wrote:
> Toby Inkster wrote:
>
>> Observe forum here: http://www.huzzie.org/forum/

>
> The problem with that, in my opinion, is that usernames and user types
> aren't clearly marked as such.


Well, the <cite> element could come in handy here, then perhaps use
@summary on the <table> to explain the role of each column?

--
Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
Contact Me ~ http://tobyinkster.co.uk/contact

 
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Owen Jacobson
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      08-01-2004
On Sun, 01 Aug 2004 22:09:48 +0100, Toby Inkster wrote:

> Leif K-Brooks wrote:
>> Toby Inkster wrote:
>>
>>> Observe forum here: http://www.huzzie.org/forum/

>>
>> The problem with that, in my opinion, is that usernames and user types
>> aren't clearly marked as such.

>
> Well, the <cite> element could come in handy here, then perhaps use
> @summary on the <table> to explain the role of each column?


Seems to me this is a natural spot for an <address> element:

The ADDRESS element may be used by authors to supply contact information
for a document or a major part of a document such as a form. This
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
element often appears at the beginning or end of a document.

Though, generally ADDRESS is accepted to be the author of the page as a
whole, so maybe not. A thought, anyways.

--
Some say the Wired doesn't have political borders like the real world,
but there are far too many nonsense-spouting anarchists or idiots who
think that pranks are a revolution.

 
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Jeff Thies
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      08-02-2004
> Forum threads are tricky. The data does seem to naturally sit as a table
> -- a column for user names, a column for user status, a column for the
> post itself, a column for the date posted, etc...
>
> But then you end up with too many columns and the post itself gets
> squished.
>
> The solution is consolidation -- scrap the user name and user status
> columns and replace them with a single "user info" column that contains
> the data for both. Similarly the date and your "delete, reply" options can
> all go in one "message" column. There -- two columns. Not ugly and not
> *too* bad semantically.


I'm inclined to agree with the minimal columns.

I was just surfing through this:

<URL:
http://www.macfixitforums.com/php/sh...=5&o=31&fpart=
>


which strikes me as about the right way to do this visually. The HTML is
pretty bad but that shouldn't be hard to "fix".

Jeff
 
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Toby Inkster
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      08-02-2004
Owen Jacobson wrote:
> The ADDRESS element may be used by authors to supply contact information


I'm not entirely sure that "user name" + "user status" == "contact info".

--
Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
Contact Me ~ http://tobyinkster.co.uk/contact

 
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Owen Jacobson
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      08-02-2004
On Mon, 02 Aug 2004 07:47:01 +0100, Toby Inkster wrote:

> Owen Jacobson wrote:
>> The ADDRESS element may be used by authors to supply contact information

>
> I'm not entirely sure that "user name" + "user status" == "contact info".


Admittedly. On the other hand, a link to a profile page might be, on the
grounds that the profile contains contact information, and "user name +
email address" definitely is. It depends on what the content really is.

--
Some say the Wired doesn't have political borders like the real world,
but there are far too many nonsense-spouting anarchists or idiots who
think that pranks are a revolution.

 
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