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Re: does TH scope go along with TH span?


From: Geof Collis
Date: Nov 23, 2009 5:00PM

Hi Andrew

While never having given this much thought, I have never really paid
attention to table summaries, perhaps I've not run into many that
actually served their intended purpose, but I like them to be short
and concise or even better a description before I enter the table
describing its layout.

What I am finding these days is abuse of some guidelines, especially
alt text. I have come across so many instances, mostly from
newspapers so far where they put a description in the alt attribute
and then duplicate it right afterwards in surrounding text, I can see
this happening with table summaries if left unchecked.


At 06:37 PM 11/23/2009, you wrote:
>Just to add to that - the explanation of the "summary" attribute on that
>link is a little incorrect in my opinion.
>The W3C says "This attribute provides a summary of the table's purpose and
>structure for user agents rendering to non-visual media such as speech and
>Braille" [source:
>http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/tables.html#adef-summary" ...I know this
>is the HTML4 spec but I couldn't locate any further info in the XHTML spec]
>The intention is *not* to summarise the content, but to very quickly define
>the purpose of the table (try not to duplicate anything you are going to put
>in the "caption" attribute). A clear description of the table layout is
>more useful to non-sighted users as it helps to form a mental visualisation
>of it's layout. e.g. "Table uses a single header row and column" or variants
>Example given by the W3C: <table summary="This table charts the number of
>cups of coffee consumed by each senator, the type of coffee (decaf or
>regular), and whether taken with sugar."> As you can see, this defines the
>tables purpose but makes *no *attempt to summarise the data itself. It also
>fails to give any idea of the structure so it's not the best example they
>could have given.
>Briefly put, the "summary" attribute is not intended (at least in the HTML
>specification) as a "longdesc" for tables.
>I'd be very interested to hear what users of screen readers actually think
>of this. Should developers go by the letter of the spec or are more
>in-depth summaries required? Perhaps we should be looking to add these
>descriptions via another method so the user has a choice or reading the
>table or reading someones attempt at summarising the data? My gut feeling
>is that I have heard "we want the same experience as visual users" a lot and
>it sticks. Plus that matches with the original intention of the attribute.