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Re: Taking another round at @summary

From: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2010 10:45:40 -0800
Cc: 'Jonas Sicking' <jonas@sicking.cc>, 'Denis Boudreau' <dboudreau@webconforme.com>, 'HTML Accessibility Task Force' <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, 'HTML WG Public List' <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <0158F71F-E80A-4AA8-806E-A3C1B0C57DED@apple.com>
To: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>

On Jan 5, 2010, at 17:06 , John Foliot wrote:
> How does the rarity of @summary's usage today, or instances when the
> author has done things wrong, negate @summary's usefulness?  All that your
> data proves is that currently this useful attribute is not being used to
> its full advantage - nothing more, nothing less.

I think that this has been discussed as a general point related to summary, alt, and a number of other designs.  I'll try to re-create the argument very briefly, to avoid repetition.

If a facility is so rarely used that it's unlikely that, if looked for, it will be found, and/or when used it is used incorrectly or unhelpfully, so that on the rare occasions it is found, it's useless, then those needing it will give up looking for it, and UAs will give it relying on it as a way to help users needing accessibility provisions.  At that point, it's getting useless.

I don't *know* that this has happened with summary, though some have argued that it has.  Note that experiments that show that when it is used correctly, it's helpful, do not negate the rarity/pollution problems above.

David Singer
Multimedia and Software Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Wednesday, 6 January 2010 18:46:13 UTC

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