W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html-a11y@w3.org > May 2011

Re: longdesc verbiage

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Mon, 09 May 2011 15:06:25 +0200
To: "HTML Accessibility Task Force" <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, "Silvia Pfeiffer" <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>, "Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis" <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Message-ID: <op.vu7tczw9wxe0ny@widsith.local>
On Mon, 09 May 2011 11:25:26 +0200, Laura Carlson  
<laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com> wrote:

...
> Chaals,
> Do you have your proposed text ready for the metadata section [4] of
> the change proposal?

An objection has been raised against longdesc (and the use cases which  
rely on information not presented in the same page as an image) that it is  
"hidden metadata" and its quality and relevance are likely to deteriorate  
over time. While it is apparent that content which is immediately visible  
can be more readily maintained in a simplistic content management  
workflow, this argument falsely assumes that is always the case, and  
further falsely assumes that the presence of some level of degradation is  
a fatal problem for the use of longdesc to improve accessibility.

In fact substantial amounts of Web content are maintained in prcesses  
which assume the presence of "hidden" metadata (which is actually readily  
discoverable) and require maintenance of that data as well as of the  
"primary" content (that is immediately visible by default). In addition,  
where an image is not changed, it is unlikely that a well crafted  
description needs to be changed, so there is no inherent degradation.

While longdesc does not require "hidden" metadata (it can be used simply  
to unambiguously identify inline content of the page as a description for  
an image), there are use cases which benefit from the ability to support  
it. Images maintained as resources in a content management system, or even  
just by copying and pasting the img tag with a link inside it such as  
longdesc provides, can easily re-use the description rather than requiring  
that it too be replicated. This matches common workflows for managed  
content, and there is no reason to make it difficult. It is normal in  
authoring tools that copying objects between pages may require rewriting  
links appropriately (their destinations are, after all "hidden"), and this  
does not seem to break the web.



-- 
Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg lærer norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals       Try Opera: http://www.opera.com
Received on Monday, 9 May 2011 13:06:56 GMT

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