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

Caption@title instead of table@summary?

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2009 07:07:37 +0100
Message-ID: <499BA5A9.8090502@malform.no>
To: HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>
This message investigate the option of replacing table@summary with 

The @title attribute is reserved for advicory information. But what 
@title is supposed to advice about differs a bit from element to 
element. For instance, for an anchor link (<a href="*">), the @title 
attribute advices not on the content of the element, but on the content 
of the link target - usually. For an <img>, the @title might inform on 
who created the image.

Hence, I wonder if the @title of the <caption> would be able to replace 
@summary. After all, it seems reasonable to say that the @title of a 
<caption> advices on what the <caption> is an caption for. Thus, a table 
summary could fit there.

Benefits of using @summary:

    * All UAs support @title - extremely backwards compatible. Doesn't
      require any CSS hoolahoops.
    * Like @summary, @title ensures that the content is purely fast
      accessible text.
    * All users can easily view @title content (mouse hovering is the
      typical way)
    * Empty <caption> elements are hidden, but still visible in the DOM.
    * Even empty <caption> elements can be made "visible" through
      relatively simple CSS and thus become available for hovering even
      for visuall user agents, so that @title content can be read even
      when <caption> is empty.
    * Could promote more use of (non-empty) <caption> elements, which
      should benefit all users.
    * The link between table summary and caption becomes clear.
    * Avoids the problems of the (claimed) misused @summary
    * Builds on common pattern, namely the use of the @title attribute

AT software benefits and problems:

    * Not each and every screen reader support @summary (Or am I wrong
    * What about discoverability, eg when <caption> is empty?

Visual UA issues:

    * It is possible that some users would be annoyed by seeing the
      @title content when hovering over <caption>.

Semantic issues:

    * Is <caption title=""> often used in the wild? My assumtion is that
      it is not. Hence, we should be relatively free to use
      caption@title for summaries.
    * Perhaps one would need to specify how to use table@title versus
      how to use caption@title.

I'm sorry if I have presented something that has allready been 
investigated. But I could not see this option in the wiki [1]

[1] http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/SummaryForTABLE
leif halvard silli
Received on Wednesday, 18 February 2009 06:08:20 UTC

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