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Re: PF Response: @Summary

From: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>
Date: Thu, 04 Jun 2009 11:19:53 +0100
Message-ID: <4A279FC9.4080904@cfit.ie>
To: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Mike Smith <mike@w3.org>, W3C WAI Protocols & Formats <w3c-wai-pf@w3.org>, Gez Lemon <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, "wai-liaison@w3.org" <wai-liaison@w3.org>, John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>, www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>, public-html@w3.org
On Wed, 3 Jun 2009, Ian Hickson wrote:
>> Is the need not served by <caption>?

> No. A caption is provided visually. [...]

It is also worth noting that <caption> is a terse descriptor. @summary
is a long descriptor.
While <caption> will often suffice, as there are certainly some simple
tables that may not need a more detailed description, the markup
language should natively provide a long descriptor to provide an
overview of more complex tables when needed. @summary /already/ does
this and keeping it in the HTML 5 spec principles will support the vital
need for backwards compatibility with existing Assistive Technology etc.

> Evidence has been presented that actually not only does summary="" not 
> actually in practice serve the need for which it is intended well, but 
> that it causes extra harm to users

[...] In my 5 years as an accessibility consultant for a national
service provider for blind and visually impaired people I have never
encountered anything like this, so that is a bold claim.

> with certain sites including 
> information in the summary="" attribute that should be available to all 
> readers universally but that is, due to the use of the summary="" 
> attribute, in fact not available universally.

Concerns about universality are valid but in this instance slightly
misguided as to me the @summary attribute genuinely supports /some/
users needs very well - which is preferential to supporting everyones
poorly. Even it it fails to meet the criterion of a 'Universally
Designed' attribute that is not, in this case, a good enough reason to
remove it.


Received on Thursday, 4 June 2009 10:20:50 UTC

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