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Re: Caption@title instead of table@summary?

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2009 22:15:50 +0100
Message-ID: <499C7A86.9030302@malform.no>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
CC: joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie, HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>
Maciej Stachowiak 2009-02-18 18.53:
> On Feb 18, 2009, at 3:39 AM, Joshue O Connor wrote:
> 
>> Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>>> Interesting idea. I think the core tradeoff between <caption title="">
>>> and <table summary=""> is whether the additional information is
>>> accessible (in some way) to sighted users.
>>
>> No its not. The difference is between some thing that facilitates
>> comprehension for a user that /needs/ this information and something
>> that is optional for a user who can already comprenend it. For example,
>> a sighted user can quickly glance at a table and understand the
>> relationships between various headers and row and column relationships.
>> A non sighted user, has to interogate the table. @summary is useful as
>> it does some of this work for the user because the user is informed in
>> advance of what the table contains. It could be compared to a look ahead.
> 
> I don't understand what your point of disagreement is. While you make a 
> good point about the usefulness of table summaries, I don't think it 
> contradicts my point. To clarify, my point is that the biggest 
> functional difference between two proposed ways of providing table 
> summaries is whether they are also exposed to sighted users. This could 
> be good or bad, as I explained in the next sentence you quoted.

Whether it is good and bad from visual UA user's point of view is 
an important thing. But as screen readers are "geared" to look at 
@summary, caption@title would make screenreader UAs loose their 
summary knowhow and heuristics. That's the problem here.

I believe that Ian is right about the misuse of @summary insofar 
that it is *authors* that need to improve. And since authors are 
not known to add <caption> to layout tables, linking summaries to 
the <caption> element, could perhaps improve the situation-.

Even if captoin@title cannot be used, there are at least two more 
options:

1. <summary> as child of <caption>.
    (Could work for sighted users as well - activation via :hover 
or :active). Screenreaders would jump to <summary> automatically.

2. moving @summary from <table> to <caption>.
    <caption summary="summary">caption</caption>.
    Would screen readers recognise @summary if it was an attribute 
of <caption> rather than of <table>?
-- 
leif halvard silli
Received on Wednesday, 18 February 2009 21:16:34 UTC

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