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

What makes a failure? (@summary, et al)

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2009 14:04:42 +0300
Cc: "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <78298A1D-EB02-4F62-8301-0322CA6CC5B3@iki.fi>
To: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
(This was supposed to go to list. Resending.)

On Jun 8, 2009, at 13:09, Steven Faulkner wrote:

>> - this means that accessibility is harmed by the summary attribute.
> As I have pointed out previously on this point, many of the bogus
> examples of summary attribute use are never announced by screen
> readers (that support @summary) as they are found on tables used for
> layout, which the screen readers ignore via the use of heuristics to
> filter out inapropriate table use.

Indeed, that mitigates one side of harm and is easy to forget. (I  
forgot about it earlier today.) It doesn't mitigate the harm that the  
opportunity cost of writing bogus summaries that never get announced  
poses, though.

When summary does get announced, where is the data that follows the  
best practice found? Is it only found on .gov sites or intranets?  
Based on Philip's survey, the data out there on the public Web is  
overwhelmingly bogus or at best caption-like in character even if a  
heuristic prunes some of the data out.

(I still think that the best way to proceed would be getting data on  
what experienced screen reader users actually choose to do when they  
can opt in or out of having summaries read. Having that data would  
make most of the surrounding debate moot, since it would be pretty  
pointless to argue with the revealed preference of the actual  
constituency regardless of which way the preference actually goes.)

Henri Sivonen
Received on Monday, 8 June 2009 11:05:26 UTC

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