Re: [DRAFT] Heartbeat poll - update 2

On Tue, Aug 4, 2009 at 5:24 AM, Sam Ruby<> wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
>> On Tue, 4 Aug 2009, John Foliot wrote:
>>> Ian Hickson
>>>> I think I may be starting to understand your position.
>>>> Are you saying that for you, it is more important that HTML5 not
>>>> contradict other W3C specifications, than it be that HTML5 address
>>>> accessibility problems with the HTML language?
>>> In a nutshell:  HTML WG's "job" is to write a technical spec.  WAI's
>>> "job" is to provide authoring guidance regarding accessibility issues. [...]
>>> You needs to stop contradicting WAI, even if you have proof that WAI might
>>> need to update their guidance [...]
>> So yes? For you, it is more important that HTML5 not contradict other W3C
>> documents, than for HTML5 to address accessibility problems with HTML?

> I view this issue similarly to how Roy does[1].  And like him, I have no
> opinion on the value of summary.
> It summary obsolete?  Not if it is actively being advocated and implemented.
>  Is that advocation and implementation misguided?  Irrelevant.

I agree, and I also pointed out discussions about folks using summary,
in applications, and in organizations [1].

It's actually not difficult to find serious discussions related to
@summary, and by that, I mean the correct use of summary, on the web,
via Google's search engine.

> To put it even more succinctly: you can try to get a representative set of
> browser vendors into the same (virtual) room, but you can't get them to
> agree on a codec.  You can't even get a set of representative authors into a
> room.
> So, yes, for me it is more important for HTML5 to document how the language
> is actually being used than it is to write a work of fiction that in some
> ideal world other than the one that we are living in would somehow be
> better.

I agree with this also. If there were a path for these people using
summary to take, to get the same effect, then the concept of
deprecating summary in HTML5 with the understanding that it may be
made obsolete in the future, while providing people with the new
alternative is an effective approach that has been practiced in the

But we don't have an alternative that actually provides the _same_
functionality (much less an improvement) in HTML5, nor are we
continuing to support the concept of "deprecation" as people have come
to expect from an HTML document. (The obsolete/deprecate is a topic
for another thread, but it is intertwined with the discussion on
summary, which is why I refer to it here.)

I've also provided a link to a real discussion of a real table where
the information in summary is information that a web
developer/designer would never put into the text surrounding the
table, because, well, it would come off incredibly redundant to the
sighted, and sound stupid. Sure, I imagine that a person using a
screenreader can eventually traverse enough of the table to derive the
information, but why penalize them, forcing on them additional work,
because they have to view the table using a different means?

Ian, you  once mentioned that your real concern seems to be that
providing text that is only "visible" to the visually impaired is
limiting. People have tried to demonstrate that the sighted aren't
being neglected when it comes to summary -- it is presenting the same
information in another format, much like captioning with TV shows, or
providing a Braille alternative to floor numbers in an elevator.

Personally, the fact that another organization in the W3C tasked with
accessibility provides a contradictory view of summary is important,
because it does create a conflict regarding the exact same attribute
in two different W3C documents. But it's not the most important
consideration to all people, and I include myself among the latter.


> - Sam Ruby
> [1]


Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 12:48:33 UTC