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Re: Draft of @summary text for HTML 5 poll

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2009 12:14:45 -0700
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <53C217B6-1844-4DA8-BA31-0C25F5426B7C@apple.com>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>

Which part of this text gives the alternatives that will be voted on  
in the straw poll?

On Jul 23, 2009, at 10:10 AM, Sam Ruby wrote:

> I've received permission to forward this to the Working Group for  
> wider discussion and suggestions before we proceed to a straw poll.
>
> I'd like to request that people focus on making concrete suggestions  
> for alternate wordings of the poll itself.  I'd specifically like to  
> avoid open ended-suggestions on alternative ways to approach the  
> poll; I'd furthermore like to ask that people hold off on expressing  
> opinions as to which alternative they feel is better and why until  
> the actual poll itself.
>
> - Sam Ruby
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Draft of @summary text for HTML 5 poll
> Date: Fri, 17 Jul 2009 17:14:26 +0100
> From: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>
> Reply-To: joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie
> To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
> CC: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com 
> >,        Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org 
> >,        Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>, Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org 
> >
>
> Hi all,
>
> There seems to be some confusion about exactly what we are voting on  
> in
> the upcoming poll on @summary [Action 128] , just to be clear.
>
> PF will continue support for the tested and implemented summary
> attribute as a prerequisite for improving accessibility of tables. We
> support the goals to make tables accessible to all, and would like to
> participate in that. However, we think this work should be done in
> addition to, not instead of, providing support for the legacy summary
> attribute. Therefore the current situation regarding the summary
> attribute and this poll is not about engineering a new solution but
> about the
> status of the legacy summary attribute.
>
> Some of the possible questions in the survey could be worded around:
>
> * Summary is the best way to make tables accessible, even though it is
> specific to people with disabilities
> * Continued support for summary is needed as a bridging mechanism  
> while
> other methods to make tables accessible are developed and proven
> * Summary is not effective and should be immediately replaced with  
> other
> mechanisms to make tables accessible
> * A well constructed table with caption and headers would never need  
> any
> kind of summarizing mechanism, user agent heuristics can generate a  
> good
> overview
>
> The survey could also be  broken into several questions, with several
> straw poll options on each. Ian suggested there could also be scope  
> for
> people to add their comments
> and ideas.
>
> I am fine with whatever is the consensus after this text has been
> submitted to the wider group.
> I don't wish to design and build the poll but I hope that my initial
> draft is enough to get this work moving.
>
> Cheers
>
> Josh
>
> @summary draft text for HTML poll.
>
> Overview
>
> HTML 5 needs a mechanism to provide a data table with a summary. An
> explicitly associated, programmatic feature is required in order to
> provide an overview of tabular data or a brief explanation of how to
> navigate a data table for people who use Assistive Technology (AT).
>
> This is because an AT user needs to easily form a mental image of
> a tables contents in order to better understand its structure, or
> semantic relationships. The mechanism needs to be explicitly  
> associated
> with the table or it becomes more difficult for AT to make that
> association. A summary mechanism may seem irrelevant or redundant to
> those with good eyesight because they have access to content
> relationships at a glance
>
> Currently the @summary is considered conforming but obsolete, the  
> HTML 5
> specification wording is that "Authors should not specify the summary
> attribute on table elements.  The caption element or one of the other
> techniques described in the table section should be used instead." [1]
>
> The specification does not explicitly mention what the @summary
> attribute is for, or provide examples of how to use it correctly.
>
> To find out how to use @summary authors must refer to the HTML 4.01
> specification. [2]
>
> In the HTML 4.01 specification authors are advised that:
> "“This attribute provides a summary of the table's purpose and  
> structure
> for user agents
> rendering to non-visual media such as speech and Braille."
>
> In short, @summary should be used as a mechanism to provide an  
> overview
> of the structure of a data table. It can be used on both simple and
> complex tables. On complex tables it can be used to give an overview  
> of
> the structure, more simple tables may not need this description  
> however
> @summary can then be used to describe the purpose of the table.
>
> This attribute was designed primarily to support the needs of blind  
> and
> visually impaired users of AT. It is supported well by these user  
> agents
> such as JAWS, Window Eyes, NVDA etc. Similar to the <caption> element,
> if present on a data table the contents of the @summary are announced
> out as soon as the user gives a table focus. The user can choose to
> listen to this output or quickly move on to another element.
>
> @summary can therefore be used in conjunction with the <caption>  
> element
> to provide much needed descriptions of the table, its contents and
> purpose thereby increasing the accessibility of the web and improving
> the user experience for people with disabilities.
>
> Protocols and Formats Working Group Input
>
> Note the following consensus was reached by the Protocols and Formats
> Working Group (PFWG) during its teleconference of Wednesday, 3 June
> 2009: [3]
>
> The PFWG also formally requested that the table summary element be
> restored in HTML 5 on August 6th 2008 and again in June 2009: [4] [5]
>
> For more details on the @summary issue see the ESW wiki. [6]
>
> Limitations of @summary
>
> PFWG acknowledge that @summary has its limitations and that it is not
> suitable as a long descriptor and therefore there needs to be another
> mechanism such as ARIA describedby or some other suitable HTML 5
> mechanism that can act as a semantically rich container.
>
> This issue is similar to that discussed in "“Recommendations regarding
> Long Text Alternatives" WAI-CG Task Force on Alternative Text. [7]
>
> However: PFWG notes that:
>
> *Summary currently serves a need, and serves it well. It is familiar  
> to
> users of AT. It is supported in many browsers.
>
> *If it didn't exist, we'd need to invent it. Indeed, such alternative
> approaches as have been proposed constitute a "reinvention" of  
> @summary.
>
> *We reject the argument that summary should be removed from the HTML
> specification because it is not implemented on most web sites. We note
> that accessibility is poorly supported on most web sites. The wider  
> web
> is not an example of good practice.
>
> *We need summary for backward compatibility.
>
> *We note that summary is often used as a technique for accessibility
> support where governmental regulations require governmental web  
> sites to
> be accessible. An example is the U.S. Government's Social Security
> Administration (SSA) pages as SSA conforms to its "Section 508."
> mandate: [8] [9]
>
>
> * If summary is removed, U.S. Government web sites, might find it more
> difficult to conform to HTML 5. We further note that Section 508
> regulations apply to U.S. state and local governments, and that  
> similar
> accessibility requirements are emerging in Canada, the U.K., the E.U.,
> Australia, and elsewhere.
>
> *Restoring summary in HTML 5 would not, in our understanding,  
> negatively
> impact HTML 5 in any way.
>
> Use of @summary is also advised in the current Web Content  
> Accessibility
> Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and its corresponding tests (H73 & Test 111).
>
> WCAG 2: H73: Using the summary attribute of the table element to  
> give an
> overview of data tables. [10] [11]
>
> References
>
> [1]
> http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#conforming-but-obsolete-features
>
> [2] http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/tables.html#adef-summary
>
> [3] http://www.w3.org/2009/06/03-pf-minutes.html
>
> [4] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Aug/0213.html
>
> [5] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2009Jun/0026.html
>
> [6] http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/SummaryForTABLE
>
> [7] http://www.w3.org/2009/06/Text-Alternatives-in-HTML5
>
> [8] http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/508/web.php
>
> [9] http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/guide/1194.22.htm#(g)
>
> [10] http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/H73.html
>
> [11] http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/tests/test111.html
>
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Received on Thursday, 23 July 2009 19:15:28 UTC

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