W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > February 2009

Re: Use and abuse of @summary

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 14:03:57 +0000
Message-ID: <ee0b30dd0902230603p128ac6acne9d2c04546fc6a2b@mail.gmail.com>
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, "W3C WAI Protocols & Formats" <w3c-wai-pf@w3.org>, wai-liaison@w3.org
On Mon, Feb 23, 2009 at 12:45 PM, James Graham <jgraham@opera.com> wrote:

> Patrick H. Lauke wrote:
>> Worth noting that WCAG 2 techniques are advisory, rather than
>> mandatory. Personally, I disagree with this technique's particular
>> suggested use of summary for simple tables...and, as it's only
>> advisory, that's fine...as long as i and my users are happy that the
>> actual mandatory SC 1.3.1 is satisfied.
> It's not really fine because WCAG techniques are supposed to be helpful. If
> this technique is suggesting something that is widely held to be bad
> practice then it should be updated to describe what good practice actually
> is.

Of course the WCAG technique should be changed. The problem is that,
unless I missed it, the techniques doc hasn't been up for review
(though I assume any feedback sent to the appropriate list would be
enough to trigger that conversation). Also, there will be disagreement
even among users (of AT in particular) and experts about what *they*
prefer...so for each voice saying that the technique isn't valuable
there'll be another saying that in fact it is - hence the advisory,
informative nature of the techniques.

> For example it is unclear that @summary will be needed to satisfy 1.3.1 at
> all since information about the structure of the data is available through
> the table cell-headers relationships hence satisfying the "relationships
> [...] can be programmatically determined" part of the clause.

Yup, that's my interpretation as well - unless the structure really
does require further explanation because it's so complex and/or
non-obvious, at which point I'd posit that the problem is more with
the table itself and it presenting too much data. Don't get me wrong,
I would want authors to be able to use @summary in that way if they
feel that it's needed...but wouldn't say that that's the only valid
use for it.

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]

www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
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Co-lead, Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Monday, 23 February 2009 14:04:38 UTC

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