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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 19:35:12 -0600
Message-ID: <4B8C6B50.5040208@burningbird.net>
To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>
CC: public-html-a11y@w3.org
Shelley Powers wrote:
> 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 
> difference.
> 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?

Well, updates to the table aren't voiced immediately, but if you hover 
over the table, the new summary value is spoken. I'm assuming this is 
acceptable behavior.  I imagine most table updates would be in the 
nature of new rows, or modified table cells, rather than anything 
structural that would require modifications to the summary attribute. 
The use of aria-live should work with the new table values.

Seems to me that, with the addition of the ARIA attributes, and a better 
understanding of how to correctly use existing HTML elements and 
attributes. we're already set when it comes to HTML tables. Not sure we 
have make things more complicated.

Gets too complicated, trashes too much of what we have now, adds too 
many new things that don't work now, and may not work in the future, 
then the W3C has lot a decade of advances, and is back in the business 
of selling stuff that doesn't work to developers.

>> gregory.
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------


> Shelley
>> 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
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------
Received on Tuesday, 2 March 2010 01:35:52 UTC

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