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Re: mechanism to provide a summary of high density information easily discernible from a cursory visual glance

From: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2008 13:18:40 +0100
Message-ID: <48511420.1040801@cfit.ie>
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Cc: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>

Robert J Burns wrote:
> Rather than putting this in terms of a summary attribute or a summary 
> element, let me simply say we need a facility to provide a summary of 
> tables (some tables) for non-visual (or low-vision or color blind) 
> consumers of table contents. A summary attribute or element seems like 
> the obvious mechanism to accomplish this, but I'm sure we'd all be open 
> to other solutions/ideas.

Yes. @summary is a fantastic mechanism that is well supported by UAs 
like screen readers. Its functionality is extremely simple in that the 
attributes contents are announced as soon as the table has focus, so in 
very practical terms, its implementation is elegant. It may not be a 
/perfect/ attribute but considering the potential load involved in the 
creation, adoption etc of a new attribute to essentially do or improve 
on the existing @summary capabilities, it is certainly worthwhile 
keeping in the HTML 5 specification. This is my position and until I 
hear /very/ compelling reasons for abandoning it, I will continue to 
advocate for its retention, even though it seems to be currently 
strangled in increments.

> Ian says: “If the problem is that the table is especially complicated 
> and needs a summary to be understood, why disenfranchise the sighted 
> users by only showing the summary to disabled users? [...] [1]

With all due respect - this logic is spurious. The presence and use of 
this positive attribute for people with disabilities does not cast a 
harmful shadow on anyone.

Josh
Received on Thursday, 12 June 2008 12:19:28 UTC

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