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

Re: summary="" in HTML5 (2 of 2)

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 10:38:46 -0500
Cc: "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>, "'Gregory J. Rosmaita'" <oedipus@hicom.net>, "'Leif Halvard Silli'" <lhs@malform.no>, "'Maciej Stachowiak'" <mjs@apple.com>, "'James Graham'" <jgraham@opera.com>, "'Joshue O Connor'" <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>, "'Steve Axthelm'" <steveax@pobox.com>, "'Steven Faulkner'" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, "'Simon Pieters'" <simonp@opera.com>, "'HTMLWG'" <public-html@w3.org>, <wai-xtech@w3.org>, <wai-liaison@w3.org>, <janina@rednote.net>, "'Dan Connolly'" <connolly@w3.org>, "'Matt Morgan-May'" <mattmay@adobe.com>, "'Julian Reschke'" <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, "'W3C WAI Protocols & Formats'" <w3c-wai-pf@w3.org>
Message-Id: <D7932147-0E3A-4F2F-917D-18A654AB17C8@comcast.net>
To: <sailesh.panchang@deque.com>
One thing we need to do is make summary for data tables visible  
regardless of what html 4 says.  Why?  because as has been stated, it  
aids with the cognative load in many instances and something perhaps  
not thought of if I am using screen mag software, I might not be able  
to get the entire table in view at once thereby breaking my view of it  
so the summary would help me to pick out the interesting bits.  Also,  
making summary visible might encourage authors to get it right.

On Feb 24, 2009, at 10:19 AM, Sailesh Panchang wrote:

In HTML4 the summary attribute for a (data) table has the limited  
of aiding non-visual users. So visual browsers do not expose it. I do  
see any flaw there. Experience in accessing content via a visual  
is quite different  from accessing content via an auditory / Braille
interface and the summary is meant for this group of users. When  
who have limited or no understanding of auditory interface are tasked  
writing summaries for data tables one cannot expect  to see summaries  
are really helpful, well written and concise. As all agree, not every  
needs a summary. A summary should contain one or both of:
i. A brief description of the structure for complex tables  if content  
grouped by rows / columns : when colspan / rowspan are used. Also  
useful to
indicate that data is sortable etc.
ii. Key trends / highlights that are at once noticeable  in a large data

Sometimes, even for a simple 2-column table that has only row headers  
and no
column headers,  a summary that tells the user to set the screen  
reader to
read only row headers is also useful!

If one wants to extend  the objective of summary attribute, and make it
available to all users, there will certainly be authors and users who  
do not
need it and resist it. If it is meant for all users, it is possible it  
be worded a little differently. When an author does indeed want to   
the table's design  or other highlights, he/she would write a separate
paragraph as part of normal content- then no summary would be needed.

So my point is why are people trying to  assign new roles / meanings  
for the
summary attribute? Again just because some folks have used it  
incorrectly /
misused it without really understanding what it is about, does not  
redefining it.
Sailesh Panchang
Accessibility Services Manager (Web and Software)
Deque Systems Inc. (www.deque.com)
11130 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite #140,
Reston VA 20191
Phone: 703-225-0380 (ext 105)
E-mail: sailesh.panchang@deque.com

Jonnie Appleseed
with his
Hands-On Technolog(eye)s
reducing technology's disabilities
one byte at a time
Received on Tuesday, 24 February 2009 15:39:31 UTC

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