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Re: changing summary values as a result of script changes to TABLE

From: Shelley Powers <shelleypowers@burningbird.net>
Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2010 17:51:56 -0600
Message-ID: <4B8C531C.9040500@burningbird.net>
To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>
CC: public-html-a11y@w3.org
Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:
> shelly powers wrote, quote:
>> @summary as it exists now is scriptable. I imagine if the nature 
>> of the table structure changed dynamically, the @summary 
>> attribute could be updated.
> unquote
> or so one would think -- i have long maintained that if a table's 
> content or dimensions change as a result of a script then that 
> script is correspondingly responsible for communicating changes in 
> content and dimension by updating the summary value for the table
> and assigning it an "assertive" politeness level, but developers 
> have continually told me that it is an unfair burden on authors of 
> script-mutatable tables

Well, there's a difference between what we can do, and what people will 
do. And people will do much, if they know for a fact, it makes a 

I think the key is showing developers that the changes work as expected. 
We developers were caught between a rock and a hard place for many 
years, because we were told that any updates to a web page weren't 
reflected via non-visual UAs. About the only option we had was to use 
progressive enhancement and make sure everything works with script 
turned off.

Now, things are different. I've been working with scripting and ARIA 
attributes and roles recently, and the minor amount of work was nothing 
compared to actually hearing the changes work in NVDA. I don't think 
I've had so much fun developing, in years.

So, show folks that if they update the summary attribute after 
dynamically updating the table, it will trigger a corresponding action 
with non-visual UAs. We're not going to do it in order to get some form 
of accessibility gold star, or an "atta girl" -- we want to see, or 
perhaps more accurately, hear it work.

Now, I'm curious, and will have to try dynamically modifying the summary 
attribute and see what NVDA does. If not, that would also be a good 
update for the summary attribute in the HTML5 spec. Or would there be 
something in ARIA I would use to trigger the update?
> gregory.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------

> CONSERVATIVE, n.  A statesman who is enamored of existing evils,
> as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them 
> with others.         -- Ambrose Bierce, _The Devil's Dictionary_
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
>              Gregory J. Rosmaita, oedipus@hicom.net
>   Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html
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Received on Monday, 1 March 2010 23:52:33 UTC

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