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

Re: Discussion: Accessibility Issues Procedure

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2009 01:04:25 -0600
Cc: 'Ian Hickson' <ian@hixie.ch>, 'Shelley Powers' <shelley.just@gmail.com>, 'Sam Ruby' <rubys@intertwingly.net>, 'William Loughborough' <wloughborough@gmail.com>, 'Laura Carlson' <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, 'HTML WG' <public-html@w3.org>, 'W3C WAI-XTECH' <wai-xtech@w3.org>, 'Ian Jacobs' <ij@w3.org>, 'WHATWG' <whatwg@lists.whatwg.org>
Message-id: <DB8DEDCF-5423-461C-87EB-264EAEC4F101@apple.com>
To: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>

On Jul 27, 2009, at 12:02 AM, John Foliot wrote:

> Ian Hickson wrote:
> Ian, browsers have this wonderful feature called Bookmarks; be sure  
> to save
> this: http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/SummaryForTABLE
> I count no less than 27 different bullet points addressing why  
> @summary
> should be retained as a fully recognized attribute. By contrast, I  
> count but
> 10 bullet points on why not.

I wouldn't judge the value of arguments. For one thing, those 27  
bullet points include many sets that make the same identical point.  
For example, #6, #12, and #13 make essentially the same point. But  
let's set that aside.

Most of these points were written from the perspective of summary=""  
being nonconforming, and the spec lacking viable alternatives - they  
speak of "removing" or "including" and argue nothing should be changed  
until alternatives are provided.

But now the situation has changed. summary="" is conforming, but  
discouraged (with a mandatory warning). And the spec encourages other  
ways to describe table structure. It mentions 5 alternative techniques  
explicitly, and we can expect aria-describedby to become yet another  
alternative once ARIA is integrated. This includes the capability to  
hide some of this information from sighted users by default. Or an  
educated expert can choose to use summary="" and still have a  
conforming document.

I just read over the 27 bullet points, and it seems to me that the  
current state of the draft addresses them all. The issues on the list  
seem to boil down to the following points:

- The need to provide some kind of description of a table's structure  
in general -- this is now addressed.
- The need to sometimes provide a description of a table's structure  
that is hidden in visual media -- this is now addressed.
- The desire to specifically be able to use the summary attribute on  
the table element to provide this description (for reasons of  
continuity, transition, education...) -- this is now addressed.

Do you disagree with my assessment? If so, which of the points  
specifically do you think are not sufficiently addressed by the  
current draft?

Summary attribute fans in general - maybe it is time to step back and  
think about what you're fighting for. Are there any technical  
requirements that remain unaddressed?

Received on Monday, 27 July 2009 07:05:21 UTC

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