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Re: Nothing is really hidden

From: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 2009 08:41:25 -0500
Message-ID: <643cc0270907020641pd83a41s6a75394c3eb9b4db@mail.gmail.com>
To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Cc: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
>>
>> True, there may be some tools that automatically fill in the summary
>> attribute with incorrect values, and the web page author is not
>> allowed to edit the field via the tool. But I would say that was a
>> problem with the tool, not necessarily @summary. As far as I know, the
>> value isn't hidden from either the author or QA, regardless. At a
>> minimum, they could check the value by looking at the page source.
>>
>
> But if they are authoring bad values and not realizing that they are bad,
> seeing those values won't make them realize.  Nothing they are doing depends
> on them being usable, alas.
>

David, sorry, I'm not sure of your point here.

Focusing on summary, and not the other set of 'hidden' data (the
semantic markup), one of the hypothesis that has been given about
changes in HTML 5 to incorporate summary into caption is that it will
be visible, then, and people will be made aware of their errors.

But it sounds like what you're saying here, is that it wouldn't matter
anyway -- people will do things incorrectly, regardless. Did I read
you correctly?


>> You know, and this could only be me, but I don't use IE, except
>> briefly to test a page. I'm learning how to correctly add alt text
>> more from discussions on web sites, and my own increasing interest in
>> making my sites more accessible. My use of alt isn't perfect, but is
>> improving. The fact that it shows up on a tooltip has never made a
>> difference.
>>
>> Perhaps others have felt that alt as tooltip in IE has helped them
>> improve their alt text.
>
> I'm sure there are some who have seen "an image" pop up as the alt text (or
> something equally vague) and realized that they can do better -- or had
> images and wondered why nothing popped up for their images when it does for
> other people's, and that inspired them to find out why and fix it.
>

Sure, I imagine that could be the case.

>> I digress, though.  To return to the topic of this thread, even when
>> @summary isn't displayed in say, Opera, it isn't hidden, because it is
>> exposed via JAWS, or other AT device. That's more the point I'm trying
>> to make: summary isn't 'hidden', it's just targeted to a specific
>> subset of the user community.
>
> You're still missing the point;  it's hidden to the majority of authors and
> QA departments, who, for the most part, do not use or know how to use AT.

I'm going to refer you to the reply I just wrote to Jonas, about
accessibility and the lack of emphasis on accessibility in the past.

I also want to reference the point I made about viewpoint, and expand on it.

The use of 'hidden' can be problematic, because, as I hope I've been
able to demonstrate in my emails, the data is not hidden for a
specific subset of the user community.  From one group's viewpoint,
the data may seem to be hidden, because the data is not displayed in
the typical browser. However, from another group's viewpoint, the data
is not hidden, because the data id exposed via whatever technology
they are using. Two groups, with two viewpoints, both with the same
goal (access to the content defined within the use of HTML 5), but
arriving at the goal via different routes.

The continued use of the adjective 'hidden', isn't just a trivial bit
of semantic wording. The continued use of 'hidden' to describe an
attribute such as summary can be used to solidify one specific
viewpoint as _the_ dominant viewpoint governing what will be included,
or not included, in the finished HTML 5 specification.

You wrote:

"You're still missing the point;  it's hidden to the majority of
authors and QA departments, who, for the most part, do not use or know
how to use AT."

As has been pointed out, most, if not all, HTML table authors do see
the summary attribute when they're creating the HTML tables. They see
it when they use the authoring tool of their choice. If the value is
generated via an application, then again the application author also
sees the value when they generate the table.

As for the QA departments, and they're ignorance of AT....

In the past, accessibility has either been ignored or de-emphasized.
However, with fairly recent legal rulings, in the US and elsewhere,
there is heightened interest in ensuring a site is accessible. More
importantly, web page designers and developers are becoming more aware
of the issues, and more interested in ensuring a good experience for
all visitors to their web sites.

We would hope in the web of the future, the web would be accessible
for all. To ensure this, we have to work to ensure that accessibility
is incorporated as a fundamental principle underlying the
specifications used for the web, including HTML 5.

A start, a small start, is by recognizing that the use of a term, such
as 'hidden', only reflects the viewpoint of one group of HTML 5
users--not the universe of all HTML 5 users.

Shelley
Received on Thursday, 2 July 2009 13:49:24 UTC

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