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RE: CHANGE PROPOSAL: Table Summary

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2009 23:53:01 +0000 (UTC)
To: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Cc: 'HTML Accessibility Task Force' <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0912012344340.2710@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Tue, 1 Dec 2009, John Foliot wrote:
> 
> I have to side with Matt here - Ian's statement of fact is not based on
> any publicly available data; he simply says that we must trust him on it.

That's an outright lie, I've documented much of the data on which my 
statements are based in this e-mail from earlier this year:

   http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Jul/0148.html


> Sorry, no can do. Ian is entitled to his *opinion* here, but the 
> specification cannot hinge on only one man's opinion.

I strongly agree that we should use data instead of opinions. That's why 
I've backed up all my statements with data.

The data supports dropping summary="".


> As a corollary to Ian's statement however, having the value of what 
> would normally be considered the @summary content visible 'in the clear' 
> on pages with complex tables might also cause harm to some users - 
> specifically those with cognitive impairments - as you then are dealing 
> with an overload of information which could leave some users confused or 
> unsure of the data they are consuming.  Thus the argument for placing 
> this information in the clear is as fraught with potential harm as not 
> doing so.

To clarify, you are arguing that explaining complicated information to 
users who have trouble understanding complicated information will lead to 
them undestanding the information _less_ than if that information was not 
explained to them?

Can you, as Matt asked me to do and as you agreed with him I should do, 
back this up?


> In this case, I have, on numerous occasions across the years, asked Ian 
> for a list of *any* accessibility specialist or advocate with whom he 
> has previously consulted, and have never received a reply.

I refuse to drag other people into these discussions. Opinions, as you 
pointed out, don't matter anyway. As you implied, we should base our 
recommendations on data, not opinions.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 23:53:33 GMT

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