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

Re: fear of "invisible metadata"

From: Ben Boyle <benjamins.boyle@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 15:40:14 +1000
Message-ID: <5f37426b0706182240o38c36743x22b98a3bdd59c86f@mail.gmail.com>
To: joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie
Cc: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>, public-html@w3.org

On 6/19/07, Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie> wrote:
> Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:
> >The meta-data contained in the
> > summary element should be reused by user agents or assisstive
> > technologies to provide a visual slash renderable version of the
> > meta-data provided by the summary attribute.
> If this meta-date could also be made searchable by the likes of Google
> bots etc, it could be really useful. If I am again mixing science
> fiction with science fact, and it already is, apologies in advance.

That sounds good to me (although I'd still like to know why the XHTML2
group propose changing summary from attribute to element [1]).

The idea that the table summary should be accessible in visual media
is good. It may seem obvious that any UA *could* access this
attribute, but the HTML4.01 spec (and XHTML2) are quite clear that the
intent behind table summaries is "rendering to non-visual media such
as speech and Braille" [1][2]. So it was not intended to be used in
visual media? Maybe I am reading the spec too literally.

Many tables benefit from some extra explanation (i.e. a summary) about
their structure. This can be useful to everyone, if it is not limited
to "non-visual media". I believe this is what the WCAG Samurai refer
to in their advice.

But if use something outside the <table>, something other than
table@summary, then that information isn't explicitly associated with
the table (and it becomes more difficult for AT to make that
association). But is it better to duplicate that information outside
the <table> for visual media (WCAG discourage duplication with
"summary should not duplicate the caption" [3]) or to provide nothing
in the visual media? The idea that tables presented visually never
require an additional summary is a bit narrow I think... not really
taking into account the opportunities for improving information
comprehension that the summary could offer.

I think we should retain summary BUT remove the note about non-visual
media in favour of adopting universal access. We should be encouraging
its inclusion in visual rendering (I think it should support the same
kind of styling, especially positioning, that <caption> does [4]).

Unless there are reasons for keeping @summary limited to non-visual media?

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml2/mod-tables.html#edef_tables_summary
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/tables.html#adef-summary
[3] http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/WD-WCAG20-TECHS-20070517/Overview.html#H73
[4] http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/tables.html#propdef-caption-side
Received on Tuesday, 19 June 2007 05:40:21 UTC

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