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Re: summary attribute compromise proposal

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Tue, 04 Aug 2009 23:53:55 +0200
Message-id: <4A78ADF3.8020100@malform.no>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>, 'HTML WG' <public-html@w3.org>, po@trace.wisc.edu, lorettaguarino@google.com
Maciej Stachowiak On 09-08-04 22.19:

> On Aug 4, 2009, at 1:00 PM, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
> 
>> John, since "progress" for the moment is linked to Ian's specific
>> proposal, and since it doesn't seem like Ian proposed something
>> that would make the summary part of the caption programmatically
>> identifiable as a summary, I wonder whether, according to you - as
>> soon as the summary is visible to all - sighted and unsighted,
>> it isn't necessary to identify it as a summary anymore?
> 
> It's my understanding that existing AT can make the caption, or text 
> associated by aria-describedby, available when visiting a table.


Yes, may be ARIA is part of the solution. I myself have put
forward the cross-browser compatible option of using <caption
role="summary"> [1]. (Cross-browser compatible, if we give we - as
Julian said, make it hidden by default. Making it visible requires
some fiddling, until Firefox and Webkit catch up. [To be fair,
making it hidden by default in IE6 needs extra fiddling in the
form of adding a class to the summary caption.])

However, Ian do not suggest using ARIA, AFAIK.

> It 
> might be that in some cases, not specifically identifying this info as a 
> "summary" could degrade the experience in a minor way. 


What about the "author experience"? Don't authors need "a summary
slot" in order to see the option?

Why do you characterize the degradation as minor?

> On the other 
> hand, it might improve the experience to label such info as a "caption" 
> or "description" instead of a "summary". 


Please explain.

> We also have to consider the 
> possibility that using techniques that are visible to all will improve 
> the quality of table descriptions, and make them available to more 
> people who need them.


I agree. But that is a reason to introduce some form of summary
element, in my view. We do not raise awareness by only saying that
  one should put non-title stuff into the caption element.

> And we have to balance those opportunities against 
> the value of specifically identifying some info as a "summary".


First we have to see if there is any real problems when it comes
to identifying visible text as summary text.

> That being said, by my compromise proposal it's perfectly acceptable for 
> authors to use the summary attribute if they find that, on balance, the 
> reasons to choose another alternative do not apply.


May we say that you suggest authors use @summary when the summary
should be hidden. And else that they go for Ian's option?

I feel that authors should not need to make "on balance" choices
for such a thing as table summaries. There should be a clear way
of doing it. I feel that Ian's method in itself is very unclear.

> In brief, the goal is to enable good accessibility outcomes without 
> being dogmatic about any given approach.


I think it is important to distinguish dogmatic and clear.

[1] http://malform.no/html5/caption+role
Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 21:54:33 GMT

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