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Re: Why I don't attend the weekly teleconference (Was: Input on the agenda)

From: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 09:26:34 +0100
Message-Id: <p06240841c66f79f25561@[]>
To: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>
Cc: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>, public-html@w3.org
At 16:32  -0500 29/06/09, Murray Maloney wrote:
>Rather, I would like to engage in a logical discussion on the 
>assertion that 'because a large percentage of the web's content does 
>not use these attributes so as to be useful, therefore they can 
>never be useful.'
>A. I think that any site that caters to readers who appreciate 
>having these features provided by these attributes would be able to 
>advertise same to their community and their users could take 
>advantage of those features. Feel free to correct my thinking on 
>this, but I think that I have at least this much right.
>B. So, while a non-sighted reader may not benefit from these 
>features on sites where the markup is not useful or usable, there 
>still exists the opportunity for the features to be useful to that 
>community. Did I make any mistakes in getting from A to B?
>So, can you agree with me that 'summary is too polluted to ever be 
>useful' is actually a straw man argument?

No, I don't think so.  I, and many web users, visit many many sites. 
A few I visit repeatedly (e.g. my company's internal web service, a 
couple of news sites).  But the majority are occasional; for example, 
yesterday the web sites of restaurants in London.

I agree it's possible I will learn or know that my habitual sites are 
well constructed and unusually annotate their tables correctly.

But for the rest of the sites I visit, if I were to learn that the 
vast majority provide nothing useful in summary, I am pretty sure I'd 
give up wasting my time asking the UA to show me the value, because 
the UA would be continually presenting me with junk.  I would then 
fail to find the occasional site that had authored it correctly.  And 
once those sites learn that many of the population they thought they 
were providing for don't even notice the provision, they start giving 
up on providing summary as well.  That is the vicious circle that we 
fear we have got into.

I don't think I have actually seen an answer to this question: do 
accessibility UAs, and users needing accessible access, look for the 
summary attribute, or have these users and/or their UAs given up 

>Given the WorldWide scope of the Web, it is easy to understand why 
>one might think that everything that we do should be geared toward 
>everybody on the planet. After all, if we are going to be 
>egalitarian, then let's treat everybody equally. But that's not how 
>I see it, nor, I suspect, is it really how you see it. Really, some 
>people have special needs to which we, as a civilization, have a 
>responsibility to respond.

That's not what I said at all, and I'm sorry if I wasn't clear.  What 
I said was that it may be better if the features that support 
accessible access are also perceived by, and used by, and hence 
verifiable by, the rest of the population, then they would also be 
perceivable through 'normal' UAs and verifiable by the average web 

The reason that there is a discussion over accessibility issues is 
precisely because we take the need and responsibility seriously; the 
desire to do something that is effective in practice, the desire to 
check whether what we have done in the past has worked, and so on.
David Singer
Multimedia Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Tuesday, 30 June 2009 08:28:55 UTC

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