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

Re: summary="" in HTML5 ISSUE-32

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2009 01:37:58 -0800
Cc: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>, Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>, James Graham <jgraham@opera.com>, Steve Axthelm <steveax@pobox.com>, Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, Simon Pieters <simonp@opera.com>, HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>, wai-xtech@w3.org, wai-liaison@w3.org, janina@rednote.net, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Matt Morgan-May <mattmay@adobe.com>, Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, W3C WAI Protocols & Formats <w3c-wai-pf@w3.org>
Message-id: <41D31E0A-C8AF-4BD5-9BD7-A070F02C419A@apple.com>
To: joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie

On Feb 27, 2009, at 12:11 AM, Joshue O Connor wrote:

> Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>> Category C was specifically about information that can *not* be  
>> learned
>> by looking at the table, or anywhere else; it is found only in  
>> summary.
>> That was my definition of Category C, which you said could be put in
>> summary. Quoting from earlier emails:
>>>> C) Additional information not found in the table at all, but  
>>>> relating to
>>>> its contents.
>>> @summary could do this.
>> This was in contrast to categories A and B, which were descriptions  
>> of
>> the table's structure to aid navigation, and summaries of the table's
>> conclusions, so C is explicitly not either of those.
>> So if such information is put in summary, it would not be  
>> equivalent. It
>> would be providing information to non-visual users that cannot be
>> learned from seeing the table.
> I don't really understand where you are going with this. That to me is
> the point of the attribute in the first place and I have repeatedly
> stated my stance on this issue.

My understanding was that the point of summary is to provide "a  
summary of the table's purpose and structure", as the HTML4.01 spec  
puts it, not to provide additional information that can't be obtained  
from the table. Can you help me understand how you came to your  
conclusions about the purpose of summary?

>> It seems that summary is used at least
>> sometimes to convey such information.
> Yes, and this is a problem because..?

It seems pretty clear to me at least that information not found in the  
table at all (not just a description of the table's structure or how  
to navigate it, and not a summary of the table's conclusions, but  
actual new information) should be made available to all users,  
regardless of disability status or what media type they use to browse.  
I would consider it a poor practice to convey such information only in  
aural rendering, in most cases. When we find examples of this in the  
wild, to me that is an example of the technology being used wrong,  
just as I think missing or useless alt text would be an example of the  
technology being used wrong.

It seems pretty clear now that you disagree, but I don't really  
understand your reasoning. I hope you can help me understand.

>> Would you agree that summary
>> providing additional information (not information about table  
>> structure,
>> or a summary of the table's conclusions, but brand new info that is  
>> not
>> in the table at all) violates equivalence?
> Ahh, I see. Not at all. I actually find this line of reasoning
> distasteful. Why? Because if any ideal of equivalence could result in
> penalizing people with disabilities because a technology serves their
> needs - the implication being that the sighted person is in some way
> discriminated against because they are 'denied' some meta data
> specifically of use to another group, c'mon. That is a perverse notion
> of equivalence that has dangerous implications when abstracted out  
> into
> practice.

I am just taking the word 'equivalence' literally. My notion of  
equivalence is that, to the degree possible, all users are provided  
with the same or equivalent content conveying the same information. I  
do not think this penalizes any group. Would you be willing to explain  
your notion of equivalence, and how it differs? If we're using the  
same terms to mean different things then I can see how we might be  
talking past each other.

(As an additional clarification, since it seems like this might not be  
clear to you: I am not arguing that information that's useful and  
necessary for blind users should be omitted; rather, I would think it  
should be made available to a wider range of users if it is useful to  
them as well. It's hard for me to understand how anyone could find  
that distasteful, so I hope we are miscommunicating somehow.)

Received on Friday, 27 February 2009 09:38:52 UTC

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