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[Bug 13129] Accessible Tables examples in HTML 5 spec

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Thu, 01 Dec 2011 09:22:32 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1RW2qe-000232-IP@jessica.w3.org>

--- Comment #3 from Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie> 2011-12-01 09:22:29 UTC ---
(In reply to comment #2)
Ian said:
> Rationale: The argument here basically boils down to "the user might skip the
> text before the table by jumping straight to the table, and thus not understand
> what the table is about". Well yes. They might also skip past a paragraph and
> read the next one, and thus not know what the paragraph is about. At the end of
> the day, readers have to read the page to understand what it says, whether it's
> with a screen reader, reading directly from a screen, or any other mode.

?? I don't understand this comment,  it seems like a non-sequitor. Either I
wasn't clear or you don't understand the point I'm trying to make. For a start
a screen reader isn't just a 'reader'. Blind people don't just sit there
passively while every page is read in toto! It is primarily a 'navigation' and
then a 'reading' device. Your comment indicates that you may not understand
that. Apologies for being so frank.

> Authors aren't going to be adding markup to handle readers who aren't reading.
> What if the reader were to skip past the summary?

I'm sorry but again I don't really understand this comment. The point of a
markup language is to create a 'programatic association' between elements and
labels, and various data. Visually, you or I as sighted people can very quickly
scan a document and make these connections, a non sighted person cannot.
Therefore the AT, by being able to understand explicit programatic associations
made within the markup can inform the user of various relationships and help
them to understand the content of a web document. They cannot make the split
second associations that a sighted person can from viewing a page. Yes, a
screen reader user can skip over content and *may* miss certain things but
thats not the point. If there aren't explicit programatic associations such as
<captions> for tables, @summary info, @alt for images or whatever, they *will*
miss these relationships and their view or reading (as you say) of the content
will be incomplete.

I hope that you would agree this isn't desirable, and that the HTML5 markup
language should endeavor to support people with disabilities using Assistive
Technologies. Some of the examples (as for the reasons outlined above) have a
poor level of accessibility, right now. Tomorrow that may improve. The simple
point I'm trying to make is that we have existing mechanisms that do 'today'
what these examples hope to do tomorrow. I really don't see the problem with
supporting existing methods that while may not be perfect - work. In time they
can be superseded by better methods. Indeed this was once a mantra of this
working group.

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Received on Thursday, 1 December 2011 09:22:48 UTC

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