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

From: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2007 22:19:26 +0200
Message-ID: <4680234E.3080909@cam.ac.uk>
To: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
CC: Bill Mason <w3c@accessibleinter.net>, public-html@w3.org

Robert Burns wrote:
> I've been closely following all of the threads, but I haven't seen 
> anyone arguing that there is an alternative to @summary other than 
> just not providing such assitive technology support.

Maybe I should have been more explicit but I have suggested that 
providing default-visible information to summarise the table. As a 
strawman proposal, something like:

<p id="descWidgetSales">The table shows the sales of widgets for the 
financial year 2005-2006. <span style="display:none">The columns 
indicate sales in different regions and the rows indicate the months of 
the year. The last row and last column show a total for the month or 
region.</span></p>
<table description="descWidgetSales">[...]</table>

This has several disadvantages; it is rather verbose (the need for an 
explicit id), it uses the (currently) obsolete style attribute (purely 
as a demonstration convenience), and relies on nonvisual UAs rendering 
display:none content (but in principle one could use media queries to 
address this issue). However I believe it would be used more often, and 
kept up to date better, than @summary.

Can these problems be fixed? I think it is worth examining rather than 
just repeating the mantra that @summary fulfills use cases and so must 
be retained. In my mind it is much more interesting to investigate if 
one can come up with a *better* solution rather than just defending the 
status quo on the basis that any solution, however little used, is good 
enough.

Of course I also believe that the draft should specify how @summary is 
to be handled by UAs.
Received on Tuesday, 26 June 2007 18:54:52 GMT

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