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Re: My final attempt on explanation (was RE: [DRAFT] Heartbeat poll - update 2)

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2009 04:39:36 +0000 (UTC)
To: Jeff Schiller <codedread@gmail.com>
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0908040433150.28566@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Mon, 3 Aug 2009, Jeff Schiller wrote:
> On Mon, 3 Aug 2009, Ian Hickson wrote:
> > The argument here is that summary="" is needed because it isn't shown 
> > to visual-UA users. This has been countered by showing that summaries 
> > that are useful to non-visual UAs are in fact also useful to users of 
> > visual UAs,
> Actually I thought the case is made that it is structural/spatial nature 
> of the table that is supposed to be included in @summary:
> <table summary="Rows contain destinations, traveling dates, and grand 
> total. Columns contain expense category and total. The first column 
> contains merged table cells.">
> and that a visual UA user would instantly see the above in the table 
> itself immediately without a need for the summary.  Why would they also 
> want to see the example summary text in a caption somewhere?

This is not the only kind of data that is being proposed as advisable for 
the summary="" attribute. Take John's example, for instance:

   summary="Schedule for Route 7 going downtown. Service begins at 4:00 AM 
   and ends at midnight. Intersections are listed in the top row. Find 
   the intersection closest to your starting point or destination, then 
   read down that column to find out what time the bus leaves that 

This information is as useful for the visually impaired as for anyone 

In practice, strictly structural data can be gleaned by navigating the 
table (if you watch usability studies if users with ATs reading tables, 
they quickly get a feel of the table by navigating it, without the need 
for a descripion of the table structure).

> > and that in addition, having summaries not visible to visual UAs is 
> > causing authors to fail to write good summaries.
> I can understand that, but I don't think caption has been proven as a 
> mechanism to capture the spatial/structural nature of a table either.

I'm not really aware of any data on that either way, indeed.

> In fact, BECAUSE captions are visible I feel we are less likely to see 
> authors authoring what they will find as redundant information in their 
> captions just as Laura has stated:
> > Providing it visually would be extra verbiage that most 
> > authors/designers would be reluctant to include visually on a page 
> > because of redundancy.

As far as I can tell, authors are already disinclined to include 
summary="" at all. So that problem exists either way.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 04:40:13 UTC

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