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Re: danger of null value for summary attribute [Re: fear of "invisible metadata"]

From: Craig Francis <craig@synergycms.com>
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2007 22:38:41 +0100
Message-Id: <80CE290A-7EBA-49BD-9A92-1874CEC72D32@synergycms.com>
Cc: joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie, Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, public-html@w3.org
To: Gregory J. Rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>

On 24 Jun 2007, at 20:14, Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:
> rather than a null value for summary, layout tables should CLEARLY
> be marked summary="Layout Table Containing X", so that the user
> knows he or she can skip that table


Sorry... I'm not a screen reader user, but I was under the impression  
that using a summary like that would pointlessly call into focus the  
use of a table.

In the same way that adding an @alt to an <img>, with the content  
"This is a spacer image" - which I hope no-one does.

I would have personally thought that a table with summary="", could  
be lineralised and ignored (like <div>'s) by the screen reader, on  
the basis that it is a table used for layout...

Although, I think that in reality, a screen reader should also make  
the decision on whether it is a layout table on more than just the  
summary attribute... for example, if the table uses a <th>, then its  
quite likely to hold tabular data.

But I think that Joshue has a point... in the same way that I like  
the validators complaining when I forget to add an @alt to an  
<img>... it would be great if they could do the same with the  
@summary... purely on the basis that the author could have forgotten  
to add the attribute... if they specify it as null, then its a  
declaration that they have thought about it, and they have decided  
that it was not required.

Craig
Received on Sunday, 24 June 2007 21:39:12 GMT

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