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Re: PF Response: @Summary

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2009 03:40:59 -0700
Message-ID: <63df84f0906040340v6071fff2r9ff6413fe873a543@mail.gmail.com>
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 Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 1:21 AM, Laura Carlson
<laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Ian,
>> Is the need not served by <caption>?
> No. A caption is provided visually. Like it says in the Use Case
> section of the "Mechanism to Summarize a Table" Wiki page [1] for the
> majority of sighted users a summary is not needed. For instance:
> <table summary="Rows contain destinations, traveling dates, and grand
> total. Columns contain expense category and total. The first column
> contains merged table cells.">
> <!-- Remainder of table -->
> A sighted person can see how the rows and columns are laid out and
> where the cells merge by a quick scan or glance. They typically
> wouldn't need an explanation. Providing it visually would be extra
> verbiage that most authors/designers would be reluctant to include
> visually on a page because of redundancy.

For what it's worth, I think this is a critical question to answer
before any meaningful discussion regarding @summary vs. <caption> can
be had.

Do non-sighted users need *different* descriptive data about the table
than sighted users. In particular, might you want to provide
descriptive information both to sighted and non-sighted users, but
have the information be different?

If the answer is "absolutely" then it seems like there is a stronger
case for @summary.

If the answer is "no", then using <caption> seems like a good idea.

Then there are the more complicated answers like "yes, there are cases
where you want different, but sometimes/often/mostly/occasionally you
don't" or "sometimes you want the information to be separate, but
people often get it wrong and only provide information to one of the
two groups". In these cases data and actual numbers would be helpful
in deciding if advantages outweigh disadvantages with either proposed

Surely there must be research done on this by accessibility folks?
It'd make an awesome design principle.

Note that I don't have a strong opinion either way, but I do suspect
that it'd be easier to agree on a solution if these questions were
answered first.

/ Jonas
Received on Thursday, 4 June 2009 10:41:59 UTC

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