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Re: Layout versus data tables proposal for null summary attribute

From: Jesper Tverskov <jesper.tverskov@mail.tele.dk>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 16:02:39 +0200
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "'Michael Cooper'" <michaelc@watchfire.com>, "'Wendy Chisholm'" <wendy@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001c48c3e$83b73720$440bc650@tversdatg7y7vv>

I know very well that using alt="" in images, meaning "decoration",
etc., is a long standing convention. I am using it myself and I
recommend others to use it, but I consider it a bad convention, a
disservice to accessibility.

Now we are also going to get summary="", title="", accesskey="", you
name it. It is bad for many reasons. Many tools for making web pages put
in all sorts of attributes="" by default so web page authors can fill
them in.

Many web page authors when putting in attributes "by hand", often start
with title="", summary="", alt="", etc. especially when they are in
doubt of what value to use right a way, they prefer to put in the
attribute first and to add the right value later.

That is the main reason why putting special meaning to attribute="",
meaning null, is the worst of all choices we could have made. It is the
worst choice possible if we want to use the attribute for testing. Most
often the meaning of attribute="" is not null but that the author has
forgotten to finish the attribute, the right value is not yet in place.

I am just suggesting putting an end to the above "madness" of thinking
that attribute="" is great. It is not. We should come up with something
better, and we should not expect for other specs to accept so bad
solutions in the long run. They give accessibility a bad name.

Best regards,

Jesper Tverskov
Received on Friday, 27 August 2004 14:02:36 UTC

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