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Re: <table summary> and <td headers> (was: Re: <font> (was Support Existing Content))

From: WebConforme <dboudreau@webconforme.com>
Date: Fri, 04 May 2007 10:21:09 -0400
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <AEB06BA8-66C2-4EBF-8643-E897BC96454A@webconforme.com>

Morning,

On 2-May-07, at 04:27 AM, Anne van Kesteren wrote:

> Indeed. At least summary= is often abused by authors: "Table used  
> for layout", "Grid of 3 by 2 cells", etc.

The fact that an attribute like summary can be abused by authors can  
hardly be a reason to take it out of the spec. The main problem with  
summary is that it's either:

a) not used, because most people don't know of its existence (which  
can hardly constitute a problem, as far as this discussion goes, but  
would be a definitive problem if left out  of a complex data table);

b) misused because people who discover its existence use it in the  
wrong context (for example, to describe content in a presentation  
based table layout).

When the summary attribute is correctly used, it will help an AT user  
make a mental image of the table itself. That will help him get a  
better understanding of the table, its contents and how they are  
structured. It is not intended to tell anything about the content  
itself, but to announce roughly how it is organized. For people  
without any visual limitations, agreed, sumaries can seem irrelevant.  
But for other users with different degrees of visual impairments,  
that attribute can often be the difference between "seeing" or "not  
seeing" the table as a whole.

Agreed again, using values like "Table used for layout", "Grid of 3  
by 2 cells", etc. to a summary attribute is not only irrelevant, it's  
plain useless (not to mention bothersome when read out loud. But  
again, this is no reason to take it our of the spec. If anything it's  
a reason - and a damn good one -to educate authors into using it  
properly.


--
Denis Boudreau,
Directeur

WebConforme / AccessibilitéWeb
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Received on Friday, 4 May 2007 14:21:17 GMT

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