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RE: Layout versus data tables proposal for null summary attribute

From: Derek Featherstone <feather@wats.ca>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 09:20:41 -0400
To: "'Jesper Tverskov'" <jesper.tverskov@mail.tele.dk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <002701c48c38$a6d28c10$fe01a8c0@faottcan001>

Jesper wrote:
> I will strongly argue against the idea of using summary=""
> for layout tables. It is a clumsy approach to make nice and
> correct markup just like using alt="" for images just being
> decoration. 

What is wrong with correct markup? While you say it is a "clumsy approach",
the screen reader users I've met and work with appreciate alt="" very much.

> Best practice should always be to use an attribute when
> needed, and to leave it out when not needed.

Best practice also includes validating your (X)HTML. Alt is a *required*
attribute for images, and is needed to validate. 

> Markup should not be filled up with redundant junk when it
> can be avoided. Millions of web page authors use attribute=""
> when they have not yet made up their mind what value to use.
> To test for attribute="" is most often not safe. It most
> often just means a forgotten value for some attribute.

>From what I've seen, attribute="" means just the opposite - that the author
*has* thought about it and has chosen this technique deliberately, not
forgotten about it. On the other hand, leaving it out completely usually
means that the author has forgotten about, or is unaware of the requirement.

Best regards,
Derek Featherstone     feather@wats.ca
phone: 613.599.9784;   toll-free: 1.866.932.4878 (North America)
Web Accessibility:  http://www.wats.ca
Personal: http://www.boxofchocolates.ca
Received on Friday, 27 August 2004 13:26:28 UTC

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