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Re: summary attribute compromise proposal

From: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 12:20:33 -0500
Message-ID: <643cc0270908061020k6b875249l8bbf99a0d37cb40b@mail.gmail.com>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
[clipped]

>> "The summary  attribute on table elements was suggested in earlier
>> versions of the language as a technique for providing explanatory text for
>> complex tables for users of screen readers. One of the techniques described
>>  above should be used instead."
>
> I think you have to read it in context. Notice how those two sentences are
> followed by a long paragraph explaining the right considerations for when
> summary is appropriate.
>
> Keep in mind that in addition to the sentence that authors SHOULD use one of
> the other techniques, the listing of the summary attribute means that
> authors MAY use it. I think this makes sense given the guidance.
>

I don't think everyone agrees that authors SHOULD use one of the other
techniques. There are circumstances when authors SHOULD use summary.
There are more likely instances where people SHOULD use two or more of
the approaches.

Treat each as equal citizens when it comes to table documentation.


>>
>> ...which I think is the wrong thing to do if one believes that @summary
>> *does* have a special purpose for screen readers, which none of the
>> alternatives have.
>
> If you read the following guidance, I think readers get the right advice on
> the whole.
>
>>
>> Furthermore, the spec still lists @summary under "obsolete but
>> conforming".
>
> To my reading, the warning for @summary is mentioned under "obsolete but
> conforming", as a Note, with all the other warnings, but @summary is not
> labeled "obsolete". It is listed as a conforming attribute (with some
> guidelines for proper use). So I would say summary is "mentioned" rather
> than "listed" in that section.
>

One can clearly see that summary is listed under obsolete elements. If
it weren't obsolete, it would have no place there. End of story.

You shouldn't begin to introduce pseudo layers of obsolescence based
on possible intent, to be derived by word usage, and perhaps probable
intent, maybe, of the author. That's imprecise, and will lead to
confusion.

We keep introducing confusion when it comes to summary. Forget summary
for the moment, and lets focus on the the fact that we're now starting
to introduce unclear, confusing, and contradictory text into the HTML
5 specification. That is not a good thing to do, regardless of what
you think of summary.

> Regards,
> Maciej
>

Shelley
Received on Thursday, 6 August 2009 17:21:12 GMT

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