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Re: Response to: ChangeProposals/DeprecateLongdesc

From: Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2011 14:57:14 +1000
Message-ID: <CAHp8n2mgUDaeiE8-n5bS2p_P-aubcjArsG_whfb+CZ3Xity7Xg@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-html-a11y@w3.org

I have a quick question: in the document that you pointed out,
@aria-describedby is listed under long descriptions. The explanation
for long descriptions in turn states that they are explicitly meant
for user-initiated reading only. So, now I wonder why
@aria-describedby has been implemented as a mechanism that is not
user-initiated? Would that maybe be a browser bug?

Thanks for helping me understand.


On Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 8:31 AM, Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net> wrote:
> Silvia Pfeiffer writes:
>> The problem of aria-describedby automatically starting to read out the
>> description is not as a big a problem as you make it out to be. Every
>> screen reader has a key that stops the screen reader from continuing
>> to read what it is currently reading ...
> And then what? Are we to  abandon reading anything else on the page? If
> we resume, where do we resume? Right in the middle of that
> long-description that wasn't so interesting and caused us to stop speech
> in the first instance?
> No, Silvia, it won't work that way. This is a problem. It's a problem
> that has long been resolved, but one that HTML5 seems to want to force
> on us again.
> The historic resolution is that we have two mechanisms:
> 1.)     A short stand-in for the graphic/figure which serves to identify
> it. This is called the alt attribute and is automatically read.
> 2.)     The long text alternative description which provides more
> detailed information about the image. In HTML4, and in our TF consensud
> proposal, it's called longdesc, and it's read only when the user
> requests it be read.
> Asking for an element/ or attribute to behave both ways, sometimes auto
> read, sometimes read only upon request, is nonsense because there's
> simply no reliable way to support both behaviors in the same mechanism.
> The one subverts the functionality of the other. You can't have it both
> ways in the same mechanism.
> Please note we defined this, howbeit tersly, two years ago in:
> WAI CG Consensus Recommendations on Text alternatives in HTML 5
> http://www.w3.org/2009/06/Text-Alternatives-in-HTML5.html
> PS: What I think you're on the verge of re-inventing is something we
> called "Escapable Structures" in DAISY. When one begins to read a long
> "subroutine" of the primary text, perhaps a complex table, one might
> decide to stop reading that structure and resume reading the primary
> content, ergo "Escapable Structures."
> Janina
> --
> Janina Sajka,   Phone:  +1.443.300.2200
>                sip:janina@asterisk.rednote.net
> Chair, Open Accessibility       janina@a11y.org
> Linux Foundation                http://a11y.org
> Chair, Protocols & Formats
> Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/wai/pf
> World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Received on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 04:59:09 UTC

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