W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > August 2009

RE: summary attribute compromise proposal

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2009 12:02:25 -0700 (PDT)
To: "'Maciej Stachowiak'" <mjs@apple.com>, "'HTML WG'" <public-html@w3.org>
Cc: <po@trace.wisc.edu>, <lorettaguarino@google.com>
Message-ID: <037601ca1536$1a37eb10$4ea7c130$@edu>
Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> I believe there are two different value systems in conflict in the
> summary discussion:
> A) HTML5 should guide authors toward choices that will result in the
> best accessibility outcomes, based on reasoning from the best evidence
> we have available. Argument that are not outcome-driven or evidence-
> based are seen as irrelevant, from this point of view.
> B) If HTML5 provides advisory guidance on how to use HTML constructs
> to make accessible documents, it should not directly contradict other
> W3C guidance on accessibility. It's ok, from this point of view, to
> expand on guidance, but direct contradiction is seen as giving an
> inconsistent message.

Thank you for understanding the issue from *my* perspective, I hope that
others can understand it too now.

> 1) HTML5 will continue to list and advise use of new techniques that
> can be alternatives to summary="".

Agreed.  In fact IMHO replace 'will' with 'should'.  Progress benefits

> 2) HTML5 will not make any flat direct statements that summary=""
> shouldn't or can't be used. Instead, it will say that authors SHOULD

<del>use</del> <ins>consider using</ins> (??)

> one of the other techniques when possible and appropriate. In
> particular, it should advise authors to consider:

<snip, but yes>

> In other words, rather than focusing on what authors shouldn't do, the
> spec will focus on what they should do instead.

In WCAG parlance this is called success criteria.

(as I re-read my response before hitting submit, I would like to suggest
that this also be the model/pattern for other difficult 'contradictions':
@longdesc, headers/id, Integration of WAI-ARIA into HTML5, etc.  I do not
hinge my support of this proposal on that suggestion, but ask that readers
consider it fully)

> I believe this
> achieves the goal of promoting better accessibility outcomes, without
> directly contradicting WCAG2.

Good! No, excellent!

> 3) HTML5 will continue to include a mandatory warning for summary="".
> The purpose is not to completely prevent authors from using
> summary="", but rather to bring alternatives to their attention, as
> described above.

Retaining 'obsolete but conformant' status?  Since I interpret this as a
functional equivalent to deprecated (mid-way on a continuum) I neither
agree or disagree... it is not a show stopper for me (personally).

> 4) The goal of HTML5 in this case is to promote good accessibility
> outcomes based on evidence. Telling someone that the technique they
> are using is dumb or wrong, even by implication, is not necessary to
> serve this goal, providing relevant information is what serves the
> goal. 

Bonus points there!

> Thus, the spec will be changed to avoid disparaging summary in
> unnecessary ways. For example, describing summary="" only in the
> "obsolete features" section and not in the "table" section gives the
> appearance of disparagement. There may not be an evidence-based reason
> to stop doing this, but I don't see an evidence-based reason to
> continue doing it, either. So, why needlessly give offense if the goal
> can be served either way?


> 5) HTML WG will propose a WCAG2 Techniques update to the appropriate
> working group of WAI (is it PFWG or WCAG WG?)

Start with WCAG WG.  I earlier today reached out to Gregg Vanderheiden
(Trace Research & Development Center), and
Loretta Guarino Reid (Google) who are co-chairs of WCAG WG, and made them
aware that some timely movement would be a positive step forward.  We can
work on this off line, but for the record both Gregg and Loretta on cc'd
on this note. If WCAG WG is not the best place to start, I am sure they
will assist in getting the initiative properly oriented.

> to better reflect HTML5
> features for describing tables. I can draft a message to communicate
> this, but I'd like to request:
>      (a) John Foliot as a co-signer (assuming he agrees with the
> language), since he said he'd support an effort to update WCAG2, and
> I'd like to make clear that this is a coordination effort, not an
> attempt to pick a fight.

I have offered this before, and continue to do so today.  I place a huge
value on the word 'cooperation'.

>      (b) I'd like to ask for some official blessing from the HTML WG
> for this message, since WAI apparently takes official input from
> Working Groups more seriously than input from individuals.

As one member of HTML WG, I voice my support.

> I'd particularly like to hear from John Foliot and Ian Hickson whether
> this would be a satisfactory outcome.

To be formal, I support this initiative fully.  Thank you Maciej.

*If* these 'resolutions' can be achieved prior to Sam Ruby's deadline for
Polling, I will withdraw my Draft Specification for consideration at this

Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 19:03:08 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Thursday, 29 October 2015 10:15:49 UTC