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Re: PF Response: @Summary

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 2009 03:21:41 -0500
Message-ID: <1c8dbcaa0906040121w60526310y6aa92ee08af64625@mail.gmail.com>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, Michael Cooper <cooper@w3.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Mike Smith <mike@w3.org>, "W3C WAI Protocols & Formats" <w3c-wai-pf@w3.org>, Gez Lemon <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, "wai-liaison@w3.org" <wai-liaison@w3.org>, John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>, www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>, public-html@w3.org
Hi Ian,

> Is the need not served by <caption>?

No. A caption is provided visually. Like it says in the Use Case
section of the "Mechanism to Summarize a Table" Wiki page [1] for the
majority of sighted users a summary is not needed. For instance:

<table summary="Rows contain destinations, traveling dates, and grand
total. Columns contain expense category and total. The first column
contains merged table cells.">
<!-- Remainder of table -->

A sighted person can see how the rows and columns are laid out and
where the cells merge by a quick scan or glance. They typically
wouldn't need an explanation. Providing it visually would be extra
verbiage that most authors/designers would be reluctant to include
visually on a page because of redundancy.

A programmatically-determined summary mechanism serves a very specific
and most critical use for blind and non-visual users. It provides an
affordance equivalent to the visual user scanning a table for spatial
structure, orientation, and relevance. A summary mechanism provides a
reasonable accommodation. It enables a person with a visual disability
to have an equal opportunity.

> HTML5 attempts to solve the problem using the <caption> element.

Caption doesn't solve it. It is not a replacement for @summary.

There are some possible long term solutions like a new <summary>
element with an "open" attribute listed in the Wiki [2] that might
offer growth to better practice. But since HTML5 has feature freeze
and since a new element would not be backward compatible @summary is
needed in HTML5.

Best Regards,

[1] http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/SummaryForTABLE#head-4fd8f8462033b251ea8328b598d9482140ff3f1f
[2] http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/SummaryForTABLE#head-847d2ebafa6828471a3d2777ad3676944007c35d
Received on Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:09:22 UTC

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