February 25, 2010
Thoughts on <details> versus @summary
I originally sent these out as a series of tweets on twitter. It was late at night on the west coast, so likely most were asleep when I pumped them out. I hope to expand on these further, but for now, my bullet points:
- If something needs to be referenced you should normally make it an element, with an id attribute. (aria-describedby?)
- If something represents a separate entity, make it an element: you might want to add attributes later
- Because <details> is an element, it can be easily styled and scripted; ditto for <button>
- Complex tables need explaining to more than just blind: low vision users with screen magnifiers, dyslexics and other cognitive needs users, etc.
- <details> could take <ul>’s – cognitive studies suggest lists are easier ways of collecting data than reading paragraphs
- The <details><button></details> pattern can likely be reused for other accessibility related needs: I’m thinking as a replacement to longdesc as well: <img><details><button></details></img>
- The reality: both summary & longdesc, while great ideas, didn’t gain widespread take-up & have been seriously abused
- Both summary & longdesc will always be honored by user-agents that support HTML4 – they’re not going to disappear overnight.