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how to collaborate with the HTML WG (what works)

From: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@ieee.org>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2008 09:01:07 -0500
Message-Id: <736B7269-C8C1-4BAE-BD71-15DA10709EE0@ieee.org>
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, wai-liaison@w3.org
To: "www-tag@w3.org List" <www-tag@w3.org>

Al had some hallway conversations with members of the TAG who  
expressed concern
as to how to interact with the HTML WG.  Since we think we have a  
case study
that reflects successful collaboration, we would like to share it  
more widely.

** summary

PFWG and HTML WG achieved constructive collaboration at TPAC.  The  
two factors that allowed us to do this were:

(a) framing a workable topic for discussion.  right-sizing (and  
shaping) the bite-sized topic.  Find a semi-separable design  
tradeoff, not necessarily a single markup feature or requirement.

(b) separating demand issues (user and author factors) from supply  
issues (markup-and-processing options).

** details

(a) the topic:

The topic we want to focus on here was "associating table cells with  
the content context on which their interpretation depends."  Not just  
the @headers attribute; that's too small a topic because the  
performance against user needs depends on client processing and to  
some degree @headers competes with @scope.  But not all table markup  
of interest to accessibility; that's too broad.  The associations  
issue is sufficiently decoupled from other issues once the @scope,  
@headers, and browser algorithms topics are included.

(b) supply and demand:

Separating what the user needs in operational terms (in the user  
experience) from markup options allowed us to make incremental  
progress working from the baseline started with the thread at http:// 

On Tuesday in the PFWG meeting, the HTML WG observers confirmed the  
PFWG participants' sense that multiple levels of context information  
are part of the requirement to cover real tables as they are widely  
used.  We worked through differences in vocabulary, realizing that  
'nested headers' or 'chained headers' were both ways of talking about  
this same phenomenon.  This was progress.

The PFWG participants were able to confirm the HTML WG observers'  
idea that "@headers pointing to TD" and "TH with @headers pointing to  
another TH" were both markup patterns that, married with the right  
sort of browser and authoring processing, could meet this  
requirement.  This was progress.

Having removed some of the spurious sources of apparent difference,  
we were able to report into the HTML WG meeting on Thursday a status  
of the issue that had some basic agreements about requirements and a  
plan for next-steps action.  The HTML WG agreed.

Al Gilman, co-chair, PFWG
Janina Sajka, co-chair, PFWG

Coordination note: Chris Wilson and Mike Smith, co-chairs of HTML WG  
have seen this and
agree it is accurate.

Received on Tuesday, 4 November 2008 14:01:50 UTC

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