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

----- "Ian Hickson" <> wrote:
> 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.

The notion that the decision to keep or eliminate an attribute based on whether it gets misused by authors is amazingly illogical. I would challenge the author to eliminate every element and attribute which is "widely misused" by authors. 

I've been developing websites since 1996 and have spent the last 6 years of my career auditing the work of others and can say from experience that the abuse and misuse of markup is almost as rampant today as it was when I began - and I have data to back it up.

For example, I am currently developing a tool which crawls web pages and performs an automated accessibility check on each page.   During recent unit testing, I set the crawler to test 1345 URLs on major websites. This resulted in the discovery of 200,298 errors.  

Additionally, SSB BART Group has developed a tool we call AMP (Accessibility Management Platform) which facilitates automated and manual testing. All SSB employees use this system while auditing products for clients - the majority of which are web sites and web-based applications. During each audit, the automated results are visually verified to ensure accuracy. Duplicates and irrelevant findings are eliminated during manual review. To date, there are over 2,270,000 errors logged in the system across more than 300 systems tested (caveat: some of these results are part of regression tests).

Admittedly, neither of these systems test *only* for validity of markup and are primarily focused on accessibility, but they do indicate quite clearly that the misuse of markup is rampant. So rampant, in fact, that "markup misuse" is a wholly irrelevant measure and should not be used as a criteria for whether or not an attribute or element should be kept or eliminated from the spec.

Time and again this WG has chosen to ignore the advice of those persons who have the professional and experiential background to know what is and is not beneficial for accessibility. It is time to begin heeding the guidance provided by the PFWG and WCAG and stop basing decisions on illogical notions such as "markup misuse".

Karl Groves
Senior Accessibility Consultant
703.637.8961 (o) 
443.889.8763 (c)


Received on Thursday, 21 August 2008 14:20:25 UTC