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Re: CFC re ISSUE-31 Missing Alt

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Thu, 6 May 2010 00:21:01 +0000 (UTC)
To: Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>
Cc: HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.1005060016210.8532@ps20323.dreamhostps.com>
On Wed, 5 May 2010, Janina Sajka wrote:
> RESOLUTION: The HTML-A11Y Task Force supports the change proposal at 
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/HTML/wiki/Summary_Change_Proposal_Nov_18,_2009 
> to reinstate table summary as conforming and not +obsolete. We adopt 
> this recommendation even as we continue engineering work on possible 
> enhancements to table summary. However,+any enhancements we might 
> propose would only elaborate on this proposal and, most particularly, 
> would not remove the support +for author provided text as has been 
> present in HTML4. Thus this recommendation serves as our baseline of 
> table summary support.

I object on the grounds that there's no evidence that there are authors 

 * have tables complicated enough that non-visual users need a 
   description, and

 * are able to write a description, and

 * are not willing to expose this description to all users, and

 * are not willing to use CSS techniques or <details> to hide the 
   information from the default visual presentation, and

 * will remember to update the attribute when the table changes.

There is, however, ample evidence that authors who are convinced (by 
advocacy) that they fall into the above situation in fact fail to fall 
into it, and end up creating harmful content. There is also ample evidence 
that having the attribute present encourages authors to include 
descriptions when they are not necessary, wasting their time and the time 
of their AT-using readers.

Therefore, having the attribute causes more harm than not having it.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Thursday, 6 May 2010 00:21:03 UTC

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