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Re: Tables and the Summary attribute + Nielsen on PDFs

From: William R Williams <wrwilliams@fs.fed.us>
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2005 08:59:07 -0700
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFA799720D.83E6827A-ON88257084.0055955A-88257084.0057CF83@fs.fed.us>

I might be mistaken, but the 'practice' of using a blank summary attribute
in a layout table results from automated accessiblity software checking for
it when the table element is detected. So, to pass that 'test,' one uses
the blank summary. I think this is a good illustration of the need for
human intervention (or judgment) regarding accessibility issues.

Too, I cannot imagine but just a few instances today where one would use a
blank image alt rather than CSS. This practice is archaic.

Finally, as it concerns complex data tables, I think one has to use all the
recommended practices [1] -- and, still, there may be problems with
accessible content.

And a totally unrelated topic -- I have not seen any mention of Nielsen's
latest take on PDFs [2], despite the fact that the article is nearly a
month old. Is his advice accurate?

[1] W3C: Tables in HTML documents

[2] Open New Windows for PDF and other Non-Web Documents

Bill Williams
Communications Specialist
USDA Forest Service, Region 5

             David Dorward                                                 
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             09/22/2005 08:19          Re: Tables and the Summary          
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On Thu, Sep 22, 2005 at 04:09:04PM +0100, Jon Gibbins (dotjay) wrote:

> However, you could argue that it's like adding a blank alt attribute.
> However, you could argue that it's like saying "no, I haven't forgotten
> about the summary attribute, there's just no need for it on this table".

A blank alt attribute says "If the image is not available, then
replace it with nothing."

A blank summary says "The data in this table can be summarised as ''"
which is a rather different kettle of fish.

Myself, I'll just stick to not using layout tables.

David Dorward                                      http://dorward.me.uk
Received on Thursday, 22 September 2005 16:16:42 UTC

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