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RE: User agent support of SUMMARY attribute in tables

From: John Foliot - bytown internet <foliot@bytowninternet.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 09:18:47 -0500
To: "W3c-Wai-Ig" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "David Poehlman" <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Message-ID: <GKEFJJEKDDIMBHJOGLENGEJGDBAA.foliot@bytowninternet.com>

<paragraph summary="This is the first paragraph used to make a point">
But have you *failed*?  I would argue that by including summaries to layout
tables (over and over and over again) that you have done nothing to aid in
accessibility, and in fact may be hindering it, if only that you are
annoying and *offending* a principle target audience: users of screen
reading technologies(1).

<paragraph summary="This is the second paragraph used to make a point">
Like many of the issues we grapple with, by far the hardest one is education
of those who do not follow our list(s).  Bobby is an imperfect tool.  It can
be useful on occasion, but it misses so much that it's "pass or fail" is of
little real value as a measurable means of ensuring accessibility.  The oft
quoted example is for images... Bobby searches for ALT text in all image
calls, however it cannot determine if the context of the alt attribute is
meaningful: <img src=".." alt="graphic"> would pass Bobby, but what does it
mean?  And so, we are left with the issue that Bobby itself is failing the
users and affected by imperfectly rendering "pass or fail" upon web pages.
Add to this the fact that for many decision makers (especially non-technical
decision makers) they look to a tool and assume it is "The Answer(TM)".
Thus, we need to teach these decision makers why Bobby is wrong, a task
often **way** harder than just plugging summary="" into a table element and
moving on...

<paragraph summary="This is the third paragraph used to make a point">
Perhaps what we need is a Top Ten list of why Bobby fails the accessible web
development community (although I could see Watchfire getting ticked off at
that...)

JF

<paragraph summary="This is a footnote paragraph used to make a point">
(1) I do not mean to suggest that Summary attributes are for screen reading
technologies exclusively, only that the users of these technologies are
often the most severely impacted group of mis-use of summaries, which is
what the conversation/thread is dealing with.



Feeling antagonistic this morning....


> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
> Behalf Of David Poehlman
> Sent: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 8:49 AM
> To: John Foliot - bytown internet; Jon Hanna
> Cc: W3c-Wai-Ig
> Subject: Re: User agent support of SUMMARY attribute in tables
>
>
>
> perhaps we can persuade the folks on bobby development to add some table
> analesis that does not require that the summary attrib be present
> in an lay
> out table.  Or, we could use the tool as intended and if need be, explain
> that we fail because the tool is incorrect?
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "John Foliot - bytown internet" <foliot@bytowninternet.com>
> To: "Jon Hanna" <jon@spin.ie>
> Cc: "W3c-Wai-Ig" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 7:11 AM
> Subject: RE: User agent support of SUMMARY attribute in tables
>
>
>
> Well, if you need to shut up "Bobby", (and strangely, this seems to be a
> requirement in many places even though it is not a true "validator") then
> summary="" will do it (at least it used to - I have not tried on the new
> Watchfire Bobby).  I wonder out loud if this really adds anything to the
> accessibility of a site though...
>
> JF
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
> > Behalf Of Jon Hanna
> > Sent: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 6:32 AM
> > To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> > Subject: RE: User agent support of SUMMARY attribute in tables
> >
> >
> >
> > Which would be preferable; no summary attribute, or a null
> > summary attribute
> > (summary="").
> >
> > The latter would appear to have the advantage of explicitly
> > stating that it
> > is a table that is best given without a summary, as opposed to a
> > table which
> > perhaps should have a summary, if only the author would provide it.
> >
> > Do people agree with my theory?
> >
> > Does practical use agree with my theory?
> >
> >
>
>
Received on Wednesday, 22 January 2003 09:18:48 GMT

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