"HTML Techniques for WCAG 2.0", W3C Working Draft, 19 November 2004, includes the statement:
That page, like many other sources, shows that accessible pages can be developed using layout tables.
These are statements in the summary at the bottom of Jim Byrne's page:
|Jim Byrne's summary||Response|
|Pages that don't use tables for layout are quicker to load.||
Each cell of a layout table makes the HTML perhaps 25 bytes larger on average. The extra load-time of pages using simple layout tables will probably be undetectable. A simple layout table may be (say) a 3 x 3 table with no presentation attributes. It should work well.
A layout table with lots of rows, lots of columns, and/or lots of height & width attributes, should be consigned to the trash-can, along with the tool used to develop it.
|Pages that don't use tables for layout or CSS for layout tend to be more accessible.||
"Tend" is misleading. Do it right and there shouldn't be a problem. Do it wrong and there certainly will be a problem.
So - do it right! Then sleep well at night.
|Pages that don't use tables for layout are more compliant with W3C standards.||
What does "more compliant" mean? I am not aware of grades of W3C-compliance. It is pass or fail.
Pages using table-layout can easily be 100% W3C-compliant, even for HTML 4.01 Strict or XHTML 1.1. Pages using CSS-positioning may be non-compliant. Use "compliance", rather than "table v CSS-P", as the proper quality check.
|Currently tables are more accessible than the use of CSS for layout, unless designers are prepared to do some research to get-around known and unknown bugs in current and legacy browsers.||
I believe the starting-point should be "accessibility when using specialist adaptive technology", not "current and legacy browsers". Eg. IBM Home Page Reader.
The issues of accessibility are at a higher level than the standards used.
|Tables should still makes sense after 'linearization'.||Yes. And this is relatively easy. As Jim Thatcher says "while layout tables usually linearize well, data tables do not".|
|Relative units should be used rather than absolute units.||Yes. But even this statement is a bit simplistic. "px" is a relative unit, but can cause problems.|
|Techniques to avoid repetitive navigation should be incorporated into your Web page design.||Yes. This is an example of "The issues of accessibility are at a higher level than the standards used."|
|Use the 'summary' attribute to provide a summary of a tables content, when appropriate.||Yes.|
|Provide an alternative single column layout when it is not possible to make a multiple column table accessible.||Yes.|
|Use HTML tags such as TH, TD and CAPTION correctly.||Yes, of course! Use all HTML correctly!|
|Help to make complex tables accessible by using, 'id', 'headers' 'scope', 'abbr' and 'axis' attributes.||Yes. But this is not about layout tables, of course.|