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Re: Request for PFWG WAI review of @summary for tabular data

From: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2008 13:37:02 -0400
Message-Id: <692E2607-160E-449D-A567-DF137BEF6B7B@IEEE.org>
Cc: W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>


On 23 Jul 2008, at 7:27 PM, Chris Wilson wrote:

> Any update on this request from the PF group?

Here is a summary of how PFWG sees the situation as regards
@summary on <table> in HTML:

1. @summary should stay
2. It provides a needed service
3. element content providing this info, *if linked by markup to the  
table*
offers growth to even better practice
4. Don't have the linking markup yet; is a developmental item
5. evolution not revolution says: keep @summary at least until  
alternatives are deployed and stable

There are lots of details to be worked out, and we would like
to continue discussing those with you.  But the above summarizes
how we see and approach the matter.

Al
/chair PFWG http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF
/to satisfy ACTION-228 http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/Group/track/actions/228

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Joshue O Connor [mailto:joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie]
> Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2008 7:33 AM
> To: wai-liaison@w3.org; Al Gilman; Judy Brewer; Michael Cooper
> Cc: W3C WAI-XTECH; HTML WG; Dan Connolly; Michael(tm) Smith; Ian  
> Hickson; Chris Wilson
> Subject: Request for PFWG WAI review of @summary for tabular data
>
> The HTML 5 working group is debating the need for a suitable mechanism
> to summarize a data table. Please note, the latest published  
> version of
> HTML 5 has no summary attribute.
>
> However, HTML 5 needs a mechanism to provide a data table with a
> summary. An explicitly associated, programmatic feature is required in
> order to provide an overview of tabular data or a brief explanation of
> how to navigate a data table for people who use assistive technology
> (AT). This is because an AT user needs to easily form a mental  
> image of
> a tables contents in order to better understand its structure, or
> semantic relationships. The mechanism needs to be explicitly  
> associated
> with the table or it becomes more difficult for AT to make that
> association. A summary mechanism may seem irrelevant or redundant to
> those with good eyesight because they have access to content
> relationships at a glance.
>
> However for users with visual impairments, additional semantics are
> often needed as a vital aid to comprehension. These useful semantics,
> such as those supplied by @summary, are often the difference between
> "seeing" or "not seeing" the table as a whole. @summary therefore
> provides a 'quick scan' feature for non-sighted users that requires no
> complex user interaction beyond giving the table element focus.
>
> The @summary is well supported by current AT and its implementation  
> for
> authors is also widely documented.
>
> The issue is detailed at:
> http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/SummaryForTABLE
>
> In order for this debate to reach a satisfactory resolution, review  
> and
> advice from the PFWG and WAI on the potential accessibility impact of
> not providing an explicit mechanism to summarize a table in HTML 5  
> would
> be appreciated as well as helping to get clarification from the HTML 5
> WG as to why the current @summary attribute was not included in the  
> new
> specification in light of its benefits.
>
> Thank you.
>
> Best Regards,
>
> Joshue O Connor
> Gregory J. Rosmaita
> Steve Faulkner
> Laura L. Carlson
>
> --
> HTML WG Members
>
>
>
Received on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 17:37:48 UTC

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