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Re: summary attribute compromise proposal

From: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Date: Tue, 04 Aug 2009 22:29:32 +0200
Message-ID: <4A789A2C.6050507@gmx.de>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
CC: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> ...
>> So a good reason would be that @summary is used in exactly the way it 
>> was specified?
>>
>> "This attribute provides a summary of the table's purpose and 
>> structure for user agents rendering to non-visual media such as speech 
>> and Braille." (HTML4)
>>
>> (potentially clarified)
> 
> If the author has information that's useful in non-visual media, and is 
> confident that the information would be unhelpful and distracting in 
> visual media, (to people of normal ability and to member of other 
> handicap groups besides the blind), then summary="" may be an 
> appropriate technique. There may be other edge case reasons for the info 
> to be inappropriate in visual media, such as Roy's example, where the 
> goal is to give a faithful visual rendering of an existing document, 
> while also providing accessibility for the blind.
> 
> I think the HTML4 statement as given, while not exactly wrong, gives a 
> skewed perspective. It has a built-in bias of providing summary info 
> only in non-visual media, and doesn't give due consideration to cases 
> where such info may be useful in visual media as well. HTML5 should 
> carry a bias towards providing summary info to everyone in all media, 
> while allowing for reasonable exceptions. So I don't think I could be on 
> board with just replicating the HTML4 guidance.
> ...

That's why I said: "potentially clarified".

>> The reason why I ask is the fact that authors do strange things to get 
>> rid of warnings, including doing wrong things (like blindly adding 
>> @alt="")
> 
> I think the validator should be really clear that it's not necessary to 
> get rid of all warnings. That's why they are warnings, not errors. I 
> agree that we shouldn't create a situation like blindly adding @alt="" 
> for badge-seeking purposes.
> ...

But again: I think a warning is the wrong message here -- there are 
cases where @summary is absolutely the right thing to use (as pointed 
out by Shelley and Roy). Issuing a warning in this case will be confusing.

> ...
>> I agree it's good to make sure @summary is used for what it's there; 
>> I'm not yet convinced that an unconditional validator warning is the 
>> right way to get there, though.
> 
> Do you think it's acceptable as part of a compromise, even if you're not 
> sure it's ideal?
> ...

No, not really, as the behavior of validators really is a key question 
here (next to the (current) guidance not to use it).

BR, Julian
Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 20:30:23 UTC

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