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

From: Bill Mason <w3c@accessibleinter.net>
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2007 17:31:41 -0700
Message-ID: <467F0CED.2040302@accessibleinter.net>
To: public-html@w3.org

Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:
> a null value for summary defeats the entire purpose of alerting the 
> user who cannot process the table at all or in toto, how the table 
> is laid out, what it describes, etc.
> 
> 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 and move on to inspect the 
> next table, courtesy of the summary attribute... after all, aren't 
> MOST tables found in the wild are quote layout tables unquote?  
> even though they are misusing the table element, they are using 
> a table to (literally) lay out content in a particular manner, 
> alignment, ect.
> 
> speaking as a screen reader

Considering that your assertion that all tables (including layout 
tables) should have a non-null summary attribute value flies in the face of:

* Current WCAG WG thinking [1]
* Advice from at least one major web accessibility group [2]
* Advice from one of the better known web accessibility guides [3], 
currently in the top ten of Google results for "layout table summary"

...it would be useful to justify this stance before using it as an 
argument for keeping the summary attribute in HTML5.

-- 
Bill Mason
Accessible Internet
w3c@accessibleinter.net
http://accessibleinter.net/

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/WD-WCAG20-TECHS-20070517/Overview.html#H73
[2] http://www.webaim.org/techniques/tables/data.php#summaries
[3] 
http://diveintoaccessibility.org/day_20_providing_a_summary_for_tables.html
Received on Monday, 25 June 2007 00:32:04 GMT

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