default template isn't correct

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Brf
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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by Brf » Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:22 pm

lifestylemaster wrote:
Screen reader and other assistive technology users have the ability to navigate Web pages by structure.
That assumes you want your pages read by such technology.
phpBB is designed to be read by a human, not a machine. The only machines we care about are the searchengines, which have never had any problem at all with phpbb.

Once you remove your false assumption, your entire argument is moot.

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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by drathbun » Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:25 pm

I believe he has a point. The concept of headings (and outlines) is to provide structure. Whether that structure is visible to a human or not is not the issue. If the web designer wants to communicate the structure visibly then different formatting and layout strategies can be used. But to communicate that structure semantically, in a way that can be understood and analyzed by any one (or any thing) it would be helpful to use a more formal structure. Having tags for h1 and h3 without a tag for h2 is a poorly formed outline. It's not whether the tags are used or not (Highway has already shown they are used) but how and where they are used.

If I were grading an outline that looked like this:

Code: Select all

H1
...H2
.........H4-a
.........H4-b
it would not get a good grade because it's poorly structured. There is no point to having a 4th level heading without a 3rd level parent. It's a poorly formed tree. :) I have not taken the time to review the web page structure as thoroughly as the original poster has. But if the phpbb index page does have the issues he mentions, then I do think it's a problem. It might not look like a problem to a human, but that doesn't change the fact that the page structure might be malformed.
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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by SamG » Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:35 pm

In all fairness, theoretical perhaps, but how moot? The OP is talking about logical document structure and accessibility. When I was in school and an outline was required, I couldn't skip elements in the outline simply because it was convenient to my content. Unless I'm misunderstanding, the point is the same here in the case of the discussion over <h*>.

I have thought about phpBB 3's use of <dd> and <dt> and at the time couldn't decide. It does seem counterintuitive, but ... so when my thoughts at the time, as I recall.

When it comes to accessibility and machine readability, I think them part of the whole "we follow W3C recommendations" position. XHTML compliance isn't a stand-alone item but part of a stack.

EDIT: Yeah, what Dave said.
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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by Brf » Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:43 pm

drathbun wrote: Whether that structure is visible to a human or not is not the issue.
As a user browsing a phpBB forum, why would I care whether an H3 or H4 tag is used? I cannot even see those tags unless I view-source.

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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by ameeck » Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:46 pm

Actually using definition lists for the forum is correct, it's the closest HTML you can use (the other one is a unordered list) for formatting and I don't see why you couldn't expand its definition a bit. After all, you're defining some terms and describing them. The only difference is that those terms are forums.

I would like to see some other structurable construction in which you could hold the forumlist in and you could style it as easily as you can now and while conserving the semantical value.

As for the headers, I agree, that could have some improvements, but I haven't seen proof of a great negative effect yet.

lifestylemaster: Could you show us an example of how you would put page elements into headers? I would like to see your how you imagine it should look like.

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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by SamG » Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:55 pm

Brf wrote:As a user browsing a phpBB forum, why would I care...?
True enough. As a user, for all you care, phpBB 3 could mark up documents in HTML 4 or HTML 5. Or not attempt to strictly follow any document markup recommendation at all and go for what works in the most browsers and makes the most people happy (new windows, anyone?). But how is that the bottom line?
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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by ToonArmy » Thu Nov 13, 2008 3:07 pm

Brf wrote:
drathbun wrote: Whether that structure is visible to a human or not is not the issue.
As a user browsing a phpBB forum, why would I care whether an H3 or H4 tag is used? I cannot even see those tags unless I view-source.
If you were blind and used a screen reader which uses the logical document structure to format and decide the order of the output.
ameeck wrote:Actually using definition lists for the forum is correct, it's the closest HTML you can use (the other one is a unordered list) for formatting and I don't see why you couldn't expand its definition a bit. After all, you're defining some terms and describing them. The only difference is that those terms are forums.
I would have said they would be fine if it was <dt>Topics</dt> <dd>2</dd><dd>54</dd> going down page but obviously that is not possible, so our current use is not really correct. However trying to make a semantic template for a forum that works on IE6-8, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc. is quite an undertaking.
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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by drathbun » Thu Nov 13, 2008 3:47 pm

Brf wrote:As a user browsing a phpBB forum, why would I care whether an H3 or H4 tag is used? I cannot even see those tags unless I view-source.
That was supposed to be part of my point, which I apparently didn't make. You don't care. :) The web design could apply the exact same formatting to all heading tags h1 through h8 and they would all look the same to you. But the intent (as I understand it) of using the h1 - h8 or whatever tags to begin with is to provide semantic structure. If you're going to make them all look the same, why use different tags? Why use tags at all?
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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by dhn » Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:17 pm

May I intervene and bring up a point?

We had to make sure that the actual topic or forum, is not overshadowed by the pages that list them. How often did you search Google (or any other search engine) with specific keywords and instead of being linked directly to a topic, you are thrown into a topic list (or forum as per the phpBB definition). This topic list is dynamic and changes every few days or hours in active forums and may not even contain the topics that Google thinks it has. You never want that to happen, believe me. You actually want to get to the topic, to the solution to your problem, not to a list of topics that may or may not contain the solution any more.

The topics, or to a lesser extend posts, are the meat of the forum, they are the content that matter. Everything else is just for users to get to the content.

Regarding screen readers. A list of topics or forums is just that, a list. Screen readers can handle them quite fine.

And as a final statement. HTML 4.X or XHTML 1.X do not really allow for proper semantic pages in the way we use the web today. This is why there is actual development towards markup languages that actually are able to represent the web semantically (better). What we are currently doing here is using the tools available, that were mostly defined by some mathematicians almost 20 years ago, before anyone even knew what the web could become, and apply our own interpretations and compromises to it.

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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by lifestylemaster » Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:24 pm

I do not say that phpBB is bad, it's really good. My point is that it may develop and do better. In my opinion, phpBB SEO Mod would have no need, where the phpBB itself did not use the tags opportunity properly.

SEO = valid HTML/XHTML code, Accessibility, semantic structure, keywords and more...

Ok, I understand that if I want a better phpBB template, it needs to do myself.

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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by Phil » Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:07 am

You are under the assumption that phpBB needs further SEO optimization, which I have yet to see proven.
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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by Highway of Life » Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:40 am

@iWisdom: It does, I haven’t seen a single software system that exists _not_ need some kind of search engine optimisation. :) I would argue that there is nothing “wrong” with the template (dhn echoed many of my thoughts on that issue), but I do think it can be improved.

@lifestylemaster: it makes absolutely no sense for us to change prosilver for phpBB 3.0.x at this point, it’s much too late. Of course it doesn’t mean that the style can improve for 3.2, or that you can create your own style. That’s what our customisation community does, that’s what they are for. :)
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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by lifestylemaster » Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:46 am

example forum page structure

Code: Select all

[h1] FluxBB.org Forums
        [h2] FluxBB
            [h3] Announcements
            [h3] Blog
            [h3] Bug reports
            [h3] Feature requests
            [h3] General support
            [h3] Extensions
            [h3] Show off
            [h3] FluxBB discussion
        [h2] 1.2 Support
            [h3] General support
            [h3] Modifications / plugins
        [h2] General
            [h3] General discussion
            [h3] Programming
            [h3] Test board
        [h2] Board options
        [h2] Forum statistics
            [h3] Currently online ( 14 guests, 0 registered users )

Code: Select all

[h1] Modifications / plugins
        [h2] Topics [ 25 ]
            [h3] 1 forum picture mod
            [h3] 2 [Release] UFProfiles Mod for 1.2
            [h3] 3 Working captcha mod needed!
            [h3] 4 AJAX Chat
            [h3] 5 How to add extra field for the registration page?
            [h3] 6 multinlingual forum names, caching with js, a style, and a question
            [h3] 7 Simple elegant dynamic news system?
            ...
            [h3] 20 Building a whitelist into register.php?
            [h3] 21 just a little help needed to remove a mod
            [h3] 22 old punbb mods?
            [h3] 23 Image awards mod?
            [h3] 24 newscore.php problem
            [h3] 25 Moving avatars
        [h2] Forum options
and nice css file http://fluxbb.org/forums/style/Oxygen/Oxygen.css

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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by MarcoZ » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:17 am

ameeck wrote:Actually using definition lists for the forum is correct, it's the closest HTML you can use (the other one is a unordered list) for formatting and I don't see why you couldn't expand its definition a bit. After all, you're defining some terms and describing them. The only difference is that those terms are forums.

I would like to see some other structurable construction in which you could hold the forumlist in and you could style it as easily as you can now and while conserving the semantical value.
My initial response is that this is a perfect example for a tabular structure, like this was done in phpBB2. After all, you have a visual layout that resembles a table structure. You have the forum name at the left, the description, the number of topics and posts to the right, and the last post to the far right.

In a table, semantically linking each of these pieces of information to the headers from all the way up to the top is no problem for screen readers for the blind.

Using definition lists, however, breaks the semantic linkage between the header information and the actual data. Visually you see where each information belongs to, but semantically, there is no way to associate each number in one definition list item with the header defined a few lists further above. The immediate consequence is that I have to remember that the first of the two numbers is the number of topics, and the second is the number of posts.

Screen readers convert web pages into a more or less flat structure where different parts of information such as individual list items, definition terms or definition defines are being displayed on separate lines of what is most commonly referred to as a "virtual document". So unlike the visual cues that makes it possible for sighted users to immediately see the linkage between a certain header and data, screen readers have to rely on certain markup to achieve the same. In a tabular structure, it would only take me one keystroke to find out that the table cell I'm sitting on is associated with a header of "topics" or "posts". The way it is now, there is no structural way other than my own memory to tell me that.

The same is true for the listing of individual topics within a forum. Here, there is also header information associated with certain data in the listing below, which I'd also consider a perfect use case for a data table.

While I'm very glad phpBB3 did away with the layout table used to display an individual forum topic, I believe using data tables in the two above use cases would be more than appropriate.

That, of course, does not at all consider the argument of easy stylability that was also mentioned.

Thoughts?

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Re: default template isn't correct

Post by dhn » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:21 am

MarcoZ wrote:Thoughts?
You have to realise that proSilver is available to the public for over 2 years now, and we went through a lot of discussions regarding this topic. So please excuse us when we do not want to go through all of this again. You will find many more discussions on this by using search. :)

But I want to mention one of the many valid points you bring up:
Screen readers convert web pages into a more or less flat structure where different parts of information such as individual list items, definition terms or definition defines are being displayed on separate lines of what is most commonly referred to as a "virtual document". So unlike the visual cues that makes it possible for sighted users to immediately see the linkage between a certain header and data, screen readers have to rely on certain markup to achieve the same. In a tabular structure, it would only take me one keystroke to find out that the table cell I'm sitting on is associated with a header of "topics" or "posts". The way it is now, there is no structural way other than my own memory to tell me that.
If you look inside the code the reply and view counts contain a hidden dfn-element that actually says what the number means.

Code: Select all

47 <dfn>Views</dfn>
As long as the screen-reader does not honour the hidden elements (which I think JAWS does unfortunately) you should have no problem using the forum. In the end the optimal thing for a screenreader to say would be something like: "Topic: default template isn't correct, written by whoever on whenever, 17 replies, 192 views, ..."

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