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Re: Check TABLE elements for valid "summary" attribute (Technique 5.5.1 )

From: Leonard R. Kasday <kasday@acm.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 10:36:59 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>, w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org
The quote you gives says that nested headings and headings spanning mutiple 
columns or rows  "may not be obvious".

While it's true that they aren't obvious to a blind user with today's 
technology, they can be readily deduced by suitable software using the 
algorithm published in the HTML Rec at


  IMHO, we should ultimately require the software in the 
browser/screenreader system to implement this algorithm,  rather than 
asking page authors to put in this redundant information.

Now this raises the question of whether we should require the special 
markup"until" the happy day arrives that the software implements the 
algorithm.  I don't think so.  At the present time, no browser/screenreader 
that I know of makes use of it anyway (at not least in the mainstream... 
there may be something in emacs/w3).  I think the w3c message should be to 
put the algorithm in the browser/screenreader.

There will still be cases where the special markup is needed, e.g. when 
there's some random heading in the middle of a table.  But not for mere use 
of spanning and nested headings.

At 04:59 PM 2/22/00 -0500, Wendy A Chisholm wrote:
>. A summary of the relationships among cells is especially important for 
>tables with nested headings, cells that span multiple columns or rows, or 
>other relationships that may not be obvious from analyzing the structure 
>of the table but that may be apparent in a visual rendering of the table.

Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
Department of Electrical Engineering
Temple University
423 Ritter Annex, Philadelphia, PA 19122


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Received on Thursday, 24 February 2000 10:35:02 UTC

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