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

Re: Nothing is really hidden

From: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 2009 14:56:24 +0100
Message-Id: <p062408aec6726b46b0d1@[]>
To: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Cc: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
At 8:41  -0500 2/07/09, Shelley Powers wrote:
>  >>
>>>  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.

Hm, I am not being clear.  Try again:  if I author a bad value for a 
table row height, I'll notice if I use a visual browser - my 
experience relies on the value being right. I might not notice in an 
AT browser.  If I author a bad value for summary, it won't help me 
just to see it -- I see what I authored, after all.  Only if I try 
understanding the page with AT will I discover how inadequate my 
summary is.

In the middle -- if I author inadequate alt texts, or forget to, I 
will at least see them (or their lack) in some browsers that use them 
as tool-tips, and maybe realize how inadequate they are.

>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?

Not quite.  If people are doing things incorrectly because they don't 
use a feature, and hence don't rely on it or understand it, changing 
the mandates will be a very slow way of changing the world, I fear.

>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.

You're attacking a strawman; no-one suggested it was hidden to 
everyone, only that it was invisible to or unused by those we need to 
get it right.

I've generally used the word 'invisible', and used 'hidden' because you do...
David Singer
Multimedia Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Thursday, 2 July 2009 13:58:17 UTC

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