RE: Example of Good Summary???

At 09:37 11/09/2009, Schnabel, Stefan wrote:
>Imagine there will be a W3C "summary creator tool" on the web that 
>will ask you 10 questions about your table..
>You feed it with facts about structure etc. and it gives you the 
>grammatically and semantically correct text in full consensus to W3C 
>"summary text" definitions. THAT would be a Web 2.0 app!

In how many languages would it be available?
Language-related tools all too often are available only in or for the 
English language.

Best regards,

Christophe Strobbe

>And the advantage is there is only ONE reference to deal with to 
>write a good summary :)
>- Stefan
>-----Original Message-----
>From: [] On 
>Behalf Of Jim Jewett
>Sent: Freitag, 11. September 2009 02:52
>To: HTML WG Public List
>Subject: Example of Good Summary???
>[example of a supposedly good summary follows]
> >>   <table summary="This table presents traveling expenses. Rows contain
> >>   destinations, traveling dates, and grand total. Columns contain expense
> >>   category and total. The first column contains merged table cells.">
> >>   <!-- Remainder of table -->
>Tab Atkins wrote:
> > Looks like jgraham found the table in question, located in the 
> HTML4.01 spec:
> >
> > Interestingly, this table is *completely* different from every table
> > that we tried to generate in IRC based on the summary.
>(It appears that the table was there to illustrate axis, rather than
>summary, but still...)
>I'll be less diplomatic, and say that that summary confused me -- and
>my confusion got worse when I tried to understand the table in terms
>of the summary.
>I think the summary would improved by describing columns first, and by
>using "or" rather than "and" on the row description.  With additional
>clarification, I came up with:
>     "This table presents traveling expenses. Data columns contain expense
>      category and total. The row headers are the city (in an otherwise  empty
>      row at the start of a row group), the date, or an indication that
>it is row of
>      totals."
>But as part of untangling it to get there, I tried to recreate the
>markup.  (The table is presented as an image, and it took me a while
>to notice that the markup appeared later.)  I think more time on
>getting the table format right, or at least using headers properly,
>should be more useful than a summary.
>Then I noticed that the summary used in the actual specification was
>much more clear (but less structural):
>  summary="This table summarizes travel expenses
>                    incurred during August trips to
>                    San Jose and Seattle"
>Then I double-checked the alt=
>"Image of a table listing travel expenses at two locations: San Jose
>and Seattle, by date, and category (meals, hotels, and transport),
>shown with subtitles"
>Barring the typo of "titles" for "totals", this seems to be a more
>structural @summary, rather than an @alt.
>Since I really would like better accessibility, I'll try to make my
>questions specific:
>(1)  Is there some reason to believe that the supposed good summary is
>actually better than the real summary, my rewording, or the existing
>alt?  For example,
>   (1a)  Did someone do actual user testing?
>   (1b)  Are there @summary conventions that AT users are familiar
>with?  (If so, are they documented somewhere?)
>   (1c)  Is listing row meanings and then column meanings as ingrained
>as which side of the road to drive on?
>(2)  In this particular case, would any of the four choices (existing
>summary, existing alt, summary from the wiki, my proposed rewording)
>be unacceptable?
>(3)  Now that we're all looking at the same table, is there an even
>better @summary?
>   (3a)  Is there one that could be produced from header values?
>   (3b)  Could it be produced from header values, if the table had
>better structure?  (It seemed to use <td> vs <th> largely for the
>visual effect of boldface type; I'm not sure how they bolded the
>800.27 in the image.)
>   (3c)  Given the table header algorithm, would it be OK to
>auto-generate that better summary, so that people could spend the time
>fixing their structure instead of patching around it with a
>hand-crafted summary that might not be maintained?

Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 bus 2442
B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
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Received on Friday, 11 September 2009 15:02:28 UTC