Next up in my series HTML5: A Story in Progress is a final discussion on the table summary attribute, as well as new discussion on the HTML5 table examples, and the introduction of an HTML5 Primer. Read more at RealTech: One Table in a Thousand..
By providing the differing, and I feel complementary table documentation techniques and examples, we’re also, indirectly, enabling better data collection activity in regards to summary in the future. If the issue with the perceived incorrect use of summary is that people don’t understand how to use summary, then in the future we should see correct descriptions of the table using one of the other techniques, without seeing an associated correct use of summary. I hypothesize, though, that we’ll see a positive correlation between correct use of HTML tables, and correct use summary, most likely used with a correct use of caption, or figure legend.