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

From: David Poehlman <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 07:31:34 -0400
Message-ID: <1256A5878D924FA8885C7B637C051F15@HANDS>
To: "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>, "Al Gilman" <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Cc: "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>, "W3C WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>

I'm hesitant to take this up, but your out of hand dismissal of this well 
crafted proposal by an leading authority in the accessibility field by 
virtue of his humility and stead fast dedication in listening to the 
community who require accessibility on a daily bases forces my hand.

When we wrote back and forth, you showed your capability to grasp the needs 
of those who do not use a mouse or screen by telling them to get another 
browser.  I further sent you a braille rendering so that you could begin to 
understand the issues but have not heard from you on that.

I suggest that this be taken up by Judy and tim because it is obvious that 
the person in authority here who not only has little grasp of real needs but 
is also not interested in seeding to authorities who have dedicated their 
life's work to this.

Accessibility means different things to different people but one thing is 
clear.  Taking away the tools that provide accessability is not in the best 
interest of the populations which require accessibility.

I'll give you a little hint though to bring this back to a topical square.

Were I reading a text book full of complex tables online, I'd need summaries 
to guide me.  The fact that bad summaries can be and are often written and 
that one blind person said they were useless does not constitute a reason 
for dropping summary from the speck.

You say in the draft that we are using html4 so use it.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>
To: "Al Gilman" <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Cc: "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>; "W3C WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2008 5:21 AM
Subject: Re: Request for PFWG WAI review of @summary for tabular data



On Wed, 6 Aug 2008, Al Gilman wrote:
> 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.

Thank you for the update.

Do you have any references to the research that indicates that summary=""
is more useful than harmful when users actually interact with it? So far,
I have seen a number of anecdotal assertions of its usefulness, but the
only actual usability study I have seen (courtesey of Joshue, who cannot
be thanked enough for his help here) showed a user dismiss the summary=""
information as uniformally useless for his needs (though again, the user
said that anecdotally, it could be useful for less advanced users).

I am hesitant to include a feature like summary="" when all evidence seems
to point to it being widely misused by authors and ignored by the users it
intends to help.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Thursday, 21 August 2008 11:32:17 GMT

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