W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > June 2007

Re: retention of summary attribute for TABLE element

From: David Poehlman <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 18:55:16 -0400
Message-ID: <000601c7abb2$6b781a30$0901a8c0@HANDS>
To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>, <public-html@w3.org>, <wai-xtech@w3.org>

so tquestion is relly why was it dropped and what markup if any do they 
expect to do its job?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>
To: <public-html@w3.org>; <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2007 5:04 PM
Subject: retention of summary attribute for TABLE element



listed in the WHAT WG's Differences from HTML4 wiki page [note 1],
under the heading Dropped Attributes, the attribute summary is
listed as dropped from the list of attributes defined for the TABLE
element. [note 2]

what justified this decision?  a summary makes it possible for someone
processing the TABLE non-visually or in small highly magnified chunks
to get an over-view of the TABLE, for what is a TABLE, other than a
visual means of displaying related data sets, and what the sighted
user sees at a glance -- the spatial relationships between cells,
rows, and column -- but, in the absence of a summary, the aural user
must investigate the table carefully and fully, just in order to
ascertain whether or not it is the correct table, how many rows by how
many columns to expect, etc.

---------------------
Retention Argument 1:
---------------------

The summary attribute is essential to a non-visual end user who is
interpreting the visual canvas with an aural renderer.  It is to the
non-visual or low vision user what the gestalt view is to a sighted
user who is capable of making the correct spatial associations and an
instant -- familiarity with the layout and flow of the TABLE, which is
constantly reinforced by visually interacting with the TABLE, which is
impossible for speech-output or refreshable braille display to convey to
its user without entering and inspecting every TABLE, whether or not that
TABLE contains the information for which they are seeking.  without a
summary, every TABLE will entail an extensive amount of work on the end
user's part because they are:

1) unaware of the table's layout, orientation, flow, content,
   relevance and validity;

2) unaware of the relationships conveyed by the TABLE, for table-ized
   data (as well as layout tables) have meaning only insofar as one
   can visually and cognatively correctly correlate column and/or row
   headers, even if they are incorrectly marked up (for example,
   indicated by a font-weight change or a fore-ground or background
   color change only)


---------------------
Retention Argument 2:
---------------------

Summary is to the visual construct TABLE as "alt" is to IMG, and title
and description are to SVG -- necessary and required markup, so as to
indicate to the non-visual user what is subconsciously absorbed by the
majority of users, for whom it is merely a question of the ability to
associate data with row and column headers;


Notes:

[1] http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/Differences_from_HTML4#Dropped_Attributes

[2] the WHAT WG's TABLE model:
http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#the-table

quote

Content model:
   In this order: optionally a caption element, followed by
   either zero or more colgroup elements, followed optionally
   by a thead element, followed optionally by a tfoot element,
   followed by either zero or more tbody elements or one or
   more tr elements, followed optionally by a tfoot element
   (but there can only be one tfoot element child in total).

unquote


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----------------------------------------------------------------
             Gregory J. Rosmaita, oedipus@hicom.net
  Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html
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Received on Sunday, 10 June 2007 22:55:37 GMT

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