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Re: summarization information delivery options: attribute or element

From: Gez Lemon <g.lemon@webprofession.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 2010 10:36:59 +0000
Message-ID: <e2a28a921002260236p68b579d3iab856c504bdda68d@mail.gmail.com>
To: Bruce Lawson <brucel@opera.com>
Cc: public-html-a11y@w3.org
Hi Bruce,

These are good questions, and should help us focus on what the summary
attribute was originally intended to do.

On 26 February 2010 10:16, Bruce Lawson <brucel@opera.com> wrote:
> Thanks for the clear explication of the different issues. I agree with your
> analysis. I've long believed that summary attribute is unnecessary: if a
> blind person needs a heads-up of the structure of a table, why would we not
> give that to a person with cognitive problems, too?

If a person with cognitive problems is also blind, then they would
benefit from the summary attribute. If they're sighted, a visible
summary attribute would add to the clutter on the page, as it's
explaining what is visually obvious and could be detrimental to
someone with cognitive disabilities.

> But I'm intrigued by your statement that "summary should provide a concise
> overview of the structure" as opposed to  "a long description for the data
> table". I'd find it very helpful to see some examples of a summary that is
>  a concise overview rather than an long description, as I'm
> imagination-challenged and the two seem to be synonymous.
>
> Do you have any examples from your travels that spring to mind?

I'm not putting these forward as brilliant examples of summary
attribute usage, but examples that would clarify the structure for
someone who doesn't have the benefit of viewing the table.

Plain description of the structure:
* "The rows contain portfolios and the columns contain dates. The
aggregate data is in the final two columns."

* "Totals are provided in the final row of the table"

And so on.

Describing where the data starts for a table with compound column headers:
"The data starts in the third row"

Describing where the data starts for a table with compound column rows:
"The data starts in the third column"

Basically, anything that is visually  obvious, but would save someone
time using a screen reader to determine the structure of the document,
remembering that AT can be quite helpful by summarising the number of
rows and columns automatically. Without a summary, screen reader users
need to investigate the table cell by cell to build up a mental
picture of how the data is organised; something that is visually
evident.

Cheers,

Gez





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Received on Friday, 26 February 2010 10:37:32 GMT

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