Re: fear of "invisible metadata" [was Re: retention of summary attribute for TABLE element]

At 22:22 +0100 UTC, on 2007-06-18, James Graham wrote:

> Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:


>> NO, NO, NO -- summary information should not be hidden by CSS -- this
>> isn't about style, it's about substance
> The point is that CSS provides a mechanism to selectively make
> information available based on media type which can be used in
> situations where there is a genuine need for extra detail in specific
> renderings.

FWIW, authors can use that approach today. Whether they should is another
thing. In practice this won't work well because it seems that most UAs
flat-out ignore media=braille and media=speech CSS. So if you set your
paragraph containing a summary to display:none for media=screen, a screen
reader like Jaws will probably not present that paragraph to the user either.

Another thing is that, frankly, I cannot imagine that authors would bother to
write up a 'visual' summary and then go through the CSS hoops to suggest it
be hidden in certain media. If they don't bother to provide summary
attributes, why would they bother using a harder method? (Harder, because now
they suddenly need to know CSS, understand CSS media, write and maintain more
complex code.) HTML 4's summary attribute is much easier to author.

At the same time authors will not provide such a summary and *not* bother
with CSS trickery, because that results in redundant information for visual

So even the principle question of whether we are talking about content or
presentation here aside, leaving this sort of thing up to CSS doesn't seem

Sander Tekelenburg
The Web Repair Initiative: <>

Received on Thursday, 21 June 2007 09:35:39 UTC