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Re: Request for PFWG WAI review of @summary for tabular data

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 09:21:38 +0000 (UTC)
To: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0808210917520.14795@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Wed, 6 Aug 2008, Al Gilman wrote:
> On 23 Jul 2008, at 7:27 PM, Chris Wilson wrote:
> > Any update on this request from the PF group?
> Here is a summary of how PFWG sees the situation as regards @summary on 
> <table> in HTML:
> 1. @summary should stay
> 2. It provides a needed service
> 3. element content providing this info, *if linked by markup to the table*
> offers growth to even better practice
> 4. Don't have the linking markup yet; is a developmental item
> 5. evolution not revolution says: keep @summary at least until alternatives
> are deployed and stable
> There are lots of details to be worked out, and we would like to 
> continue discussing those with you.  But the above summarizes how we see 
> and approach the matter.

Thank you for the update.

Do you have any references to the research that indicates that summary="" 
is more useful than harmful when users actually interact with it? So far, 
I have seen a number of anecdotal assertions of its usefulness, but the 
only actual usability study I have seen (courtesey of Joshue, who cannot 
be thanked enough for his help here) showed a user dismiss the summary="" 
information as uniformally useless for his needs (though again, the user 
said that anecdotally, it could be useful for less advanced users).

I am hesitant to include a feature like summary="" when all evidence seems 
to point to it being widely misused by authors and ignored by the users it 
intends to help.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Thursday, 21 August 2008 09:22:00 UTC

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