Re: Taking another round at @summary

On 2010-01-06, at 2:38 AM, Jonas Sicking wrote:

> The question should never be why not to have a feature, but why to
> have it. So my question is why should we have @summary in the spec? As
> far as I can tell all the problems that @summary aimed to solve, are
> already solved by aria-describedby. And solved better than @summary
> does.

You are wrong. However great and promising they may be, new attributes do not solve the problems of people who can't afford or upgrade to tools that actually support these.

> If you think you could successfully evangelize @summary to be used,
> why not instead spend that effort to evangelize aria-describedby?

Agreed, we could. For authors. But what have we planned for backwards compatiblity for users mentionned above with this new solution?

And as a representative of my province's policies, how am I supposed to deal with such a decision? 

When we evangelize W3C standards to our respective governments, what we're doing is selling them the assurance that if they go that route, things will finally be stable (as opposed to what they're used to when dealing with proprietary standards). 

WCAG 2.0 came out just a little over a year ago and decisions were made according to what that standard said. Faith was there. Trust. Something we all built over the years in our communities. It's the little things like slashing at @summary that breaks this trust for people who have next to no clue what it is the W3C is doing.

Like John pointed out earlier, @summary is an optional attribute. Why not just let it be? It doesn't hurt anything.

> And my understanding is that most AT tools are working on implementing
> aria. Firefox already supports it. Don't know what the state is in
> other browsers. So it seems likely that tool support is the smaller
> problem here.

Quite frankly, I don't care how well AT vendors implement it in their upcoming versions. It's the past versions that worry me. And the users who have no choice but to use them.

Unless they actually GIVE the updates free to their users who can't afford them, my problem is not solved. Users will still be stuck with versions that don't support it. But now, they'll not only hate AT vendors for making their products so expensive to purchase, they might also hate HTML5 for forcing that down their throats.

I doubt Freedom Scientific, with its draconian Jaws policy on demo version evaluation testing will start distributing free copies of its product to every registered users by the end of 2010. 

If they ever do, I'd sure love to reserve a copy. 


Denis Boudreau,

Coopérative AccessibilitéWeb
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Montréal (Qc), Canada  H3K 1G6

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Received on Wednesday, 6 January 2010 08:10:35 UTC