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

From: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2008 10:13:08 -0400
Message-Id: <56F9620C-550E-4EF9-A442-6C1B46345B59@IEEE.org>
Cc: wai-liaison@w3.org, Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>
To: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>

[dropping some addressees.  quote/forward to anyone ad_lib.]

On 23 Jul 2008, at 7:27 PM, Chris Wilson wrote:

> Any update on this request from the PF group?

We got some interesting input, but it would take
some pulling together.  Is this a topic of current discussion?
Would a response on or around 6 August be timely?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Joshue O Connor [mailto:joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie]
> Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2008 7:33 AM
> To: wai-liaison@w3.org; Al Gilman; Judy Brewer; Michael Cooper
> Cc: W3C WAI-XTECH; HTML WG; Dan Connolly; Michael(tm) Smith; Ian  
> Hickson; Chris Wilson
> Subject: Request for PFWG WAI review of @summary for tabular data
> The HTML 5 working group is debating the need for a suitable mechanism
> to summarize a data table. Please note, the latest published  
> version of
> HTML 5 has no summary attribute.
> However, HTML 5 needs a mechanism to provide a data table with a
> summary. An explicitly associated, programmatic feature is required in
> order to provide an overview of tabular data or a brief explanation of
> how to navigate a data table for people who use assistive technology
> (AT). This is because an AT user needs to easily form a mental  
> image of
> a tables contents in order to better understand its structure, or
> semantic relationships. The mechanism needs to be explicitly  
> associated
> with the table or it becomes more difficult for AT to make that
> association. A summary mechanism may seem irrelevant or redundant to
> those with good eyesight because they have access to content
> relationships at a glance.
> However for users with visual impairments, additional semantics are
> often needed as a vital aid to comprehension. These useful semantics,
> such as those supplied by @summary, are often the difference between
> "seeing" or "not seeing" the table as a whole. @summary therefore
> provides a 'quick scan' feature for non-sighted users that requires no
> complex user interaction beyond giving the table element focus.
> The @summary is well supported by current AT and its implementation  
> for
> authors is also widely documented.
> The issue is detailed at:
> http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/SummaryForTABLE
> In order for this debate to reach a satisfactory resolution, review  
> and
> advice from the PFWG and WAI on the potential accessibility impact of
> not providing an explicit mechanism to summarize a table in HTML 5  
> would
> be appreciated as well as helping to get clarification from the HTML 5
> WG as to why the current @summary attribute was not included in the  
> new
> specification in light of its benefits.
> Thank you.
> Best Regards,
> Joshue O Connor
> Gregory J. Rosmaita
> Steve Faulkner
> Laura L. Carlson
> --
> HTML WG Members
Received on Thursday, 24 July 2008 14:13:56 UTC

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