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.