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

Re: Nothing is really hidden

From: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 2009 11:37:22 -0500
Message-ID: <643cc0270907020937k50d3fd3r241a5e96dcd1ad5d@mail.gmail.com>
To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Cc: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
>>>  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.

Summary is basically a plain text description of the table, meant to
provide structural clues to the visual aspect of the table for those
who need this information. Think of it this way: when you're designing
the table, you roughly sketch it out in your mind, a white board, or
paper or some other means to determine its organization. Just take
those mental notes, or text describing what was on the white board or
whatever, and put it into summary.

It doesn't have to be complicated to test a value. Just take the text,
send it to a friend in an email, and ask them to provide an HTML table
that matches. Or try it out with AT.

Again, this isn't anything to do with the visibility of the attribute.
At all. This is seemingly your difficulty with understanding how to
provide the information. You'd have this problem even if you
incorporated the text into caption.

So it's not the hiddenness or visibility that's the issue. That's my
understanding of what you just wrote.

> 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.

So, use IE a lot do you?

I'm sorry that was misplaced levity. But the point is, IE8 now no
longer pops up a tooltip for alt, so I think this one isn't as
relevant as it used to be.

I'm not sure, though, why you have to see if physically displayed in
the web page to actually "see" it. That is very confusing.

>> 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.

>From my understanding about any issue to do with any minority group,
including those with accessibility challenges, changes in how the
majority do things in order to accommodate the minority is typically
slow. ABut that doesn't mean we shouldn't try, encourage, or at a
minimum, provide the facility for those who want to try.

>> 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.

But as was demonstrated earlier, it is not invisible to the author, or
to anyone who needs to get it right, whether they have a visual
impairment or not. It doesn't display in the typical web browser, but
it isn't invisible, and the people can see it to read it to check if
it's comprehensive.

Does it really have to actually be physically displayed in the web
page in order to comprehend it? Even to the person who writes the
text? That's not a strawman argument, that's me having some real
difficulty understanding why the text you write has to actually be
displayed in a web page in a browser in order to be comprehensible.

As for "unused by those [who] need to get it right", again, that's
confusing to me.  I'm assuming that we don't have to benefit from
something in order to provide the something. We may not always get
things right, but at least we're making a best effort.

> I've generally used the word 'invisible', and used 'hidden' because you
> do...

Sorry, but I have seen others use the term, before I started using it.
But I am no longer using it, if that helps.

Received on Thursday, 2 July 2009 16:37:59 UTC

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