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Re: summary attribute compromise proposal

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 04 Aug 2009 15:43:00 -0700
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <B0BEBD7A-31B3-45A4-AF1A-9067546818CB@apple.com>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>

On Aug 4, 2009, at 2:50 PM, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

> On Tue, 04 Aug 2009 14:03:37 -0400, Maciej Stachowiak  
> <mjs@apple.com> wrote:
>
>>
>> I believe there are two different value systems in conflict in the  
>> summary dicussion:
>>
>> 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.
>
> Actually, I think this is a false dichotomy, and is not an accurate  
> representation of the differences that lead to disagreement.  
> However, that fortunately doesn't matter in deciding on the proposal  
> to resolve the problem at hand. So...

OK, I didn't mean to present these views either as mutually exclusive  
or as covering everyone's point of view.

> (If there are similar mandatory warnings for canvas with no clear  
> fallback content, a lack of @alt, the font element, and various  
> other things that are bad style, I might move to support it. I don't  
> see it as feasible to reach that agreement, so I am happy to simply  
> compromise on this point).

Mandatory warnings might be appropriate for other constructs that are  
error-prone or bad style, without necessarily being always wrong. But  
I'd rather not tie that up with this particular issue. Thanks for  
being willing to compromise.

>
>> 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. 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?
>
> Agreed. The obvious actionable outcome being
>
> 4a) summary will be listed in the table section, with examples  
> provided for what should and should not be in it.
>
>> 5) HTML WG will propose a WCAG2 Techniques update to the  
>> appropriate working group of WAI (is it PFWG or WCAG WG?) 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.
>>     (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.
>
> This makes sense... although getting a blessing must depend on the  
> actual message text.
>
> Thanks for this proposal. It includes a bunch of stuff that I think  
> is good, nothing I think is new, and a few things I think are bad.  
> But overall I can live with it.

Thank you for your feedback.

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 22:43:40 GMT

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