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

Re: use of data for "decisions" (Was: Issues of @summary and use of data for "decisions")

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 2009 14:53:10 +0200
To: Smylers <Smylers@stripey.com>, "HTMLWG WG" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.uv04qwm6wxe0ny@esws31067.es.deloitte.com>
On Wed, 24 Jun 2009 13:27:21 +0200, Smylers <Smylers@stripey.com> wrote:

> And it's worth looking at the effect the misuses have on the genuine
> uses:

Very much so - that was the point of my thread on "failure"...

> * For most users the valid uses of <table> aren't in any way hampered by
>   the widespread misuse; a user of a graphical browser who is presented
>   with a data table isn't a risk of not realizing that the data is
>   tabular because most tables she sees are for layout.  So despite the
>   misuses, valid uses still work for at least some users.  (Yes, it's
>   bad that this isn't for all users; that's why authors are told not to
>   do this.)
> * Whereas with summary the misuses so swamped the genuine uses it looked
>   like no users could ever benefit from them -- because a user choosing
>   to hear a summary would so likely get something irrelevant they'd
>   learn not to bother with summaries, thereby missing the few good ones.

"it looked like" is not data. It's a guess, and where the guess is not  
very well informed, it's reasonably likely that it is wrong, and therefore  
that conclusions base on it are too.

>   So there's a distinction between misuse which renders the genuine uses
>   (and therefore the feature) irrelevant, and misuse which leaves the
>   genuine uses working for most users.
>  Obviously this view of summary is mistaken: it doesn't take into
>   account screen readers' layout table detection.  But given that
>   misunderstanding, the conclusion reasonably follows.

Indeed. In other words, the interpretation of the data actually matters as  
much as the real data. And the interpretation in effect depends on data  
too, although being data about what people consider useful and how they  
behave, it is rather harder to gather (even if it weren't also relevant to  
a small subset of the overall population, and therefore easily capable of  
falling entirely outside most people's experience).

cheers

Chaals

-- 
Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg lærer norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals       Try Opera: http://www.opera.com
Received on Wednesday, 24 June 2009 12:53:58 UTC

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