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

table-summary argument

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2009 09:02:25 -0800
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <8B62A039C620904E92F1233570534C9B0118C85159B2@nambx04.corp.adobe.com>


table@summary is presently not in HTML5. It was taken out in the "Great
Google Survey of 2007" which found that it was rarely used and often
misused. That's true, but it's also critical to describe large and
complex tables to screen-reader users. That is, where it's in use,
there is good, useful documentation on how to do the right thing,
and it hasn't changed that much since HTML 4.01.

The unanimous position of PF and WAI on @summary is that it's needed.
The proposal is to remove an accessibility-related attribute, without
offering a replacement for its use, with no explanation except they 
looked at the Google index and figured they could axe it. 

Note on the wiki that there are 14 arguments for @summary, and 4 against 
(though 2 and 3 are the same argument, 1 can be adequately paraphrased 
as "nuh uh", and 4 is merely a speculation that something better could 
be designed in the future).


Adobe supports @summary in Dreamweaver, and has since time immemorial.
The specification currently calls for crippling  a popular authoring tool
since @summary would be illegal in HTML5. 

Why should authoring tools be forced to remove a long-standing feature
of value to those who desire to improve accessibility of their sites?
There is no apparent benefit to anyone (assuming there aren't vendors
with automatic table summarization technology wishing to encourage
use of their summarization services.)


Received on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 17:03:19 UTC

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