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RE: Call for consensus on longdesc change proposal

From: Cynthia Shelly <cyns@microsoft.com>
Date: Tue, 17 May 2011 20:15:24 +0000
To: Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>, "public-html-a11y@w3.org" <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <C7412B925ACA454EADB3B6ECF5B960E85928388C@TK5EX14MBXC133.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
Sorry I couldn't make the call.  As I've said before, I can live with either decision on longdesc, as I think we can have a path forward with ARIA describedby and describedat.

On the specific proposal, I have 3 questions:
1)
I don't really understand this:  
"aria-describedby will annotate text in the target id referenced by the idref. This means assistive technology users would not be able to control how they interact with the long description (as they can with longdesc). It is read aloud without any user intervention, forcing the longer description on the user whether they want it or not."

What is meant by annotate?  Why does this make it impossible for AT developers to create UI for their users that allows them to control how they interact with aria-describedby?  Note that I'm not talking about current AT behavior.  If this argument is about current AT behavior, then it is a very weak argument, as AT can be changed just like any other software.  If the argument is about it being impossible to create this UI, then the reason for that needs to be called out more explicitly.

2) "As, by definition, a long description is in fact long, aria-describedby is not good solution for a longdesc."
Because....?

3) "It is unlikely that many content creators or developers will learn ARIA (something not native HTML). They already feel like they've learned far more than they should have to know under their job description. And in many cases, their supervisors agree. (reference Cliff Tyllick)"

Do you really want to go there?  The PF believes pretty strongly in the value of ARIA.   While I'm neutral on longdesc, I would feel very uncomfortable supporting a document with this statement in it.  I suspect there are other members of the TF that would agree.  It's also an appeal to authority (one view), or what some guy on a blog thinks (another view), neither of which carries much weight in this WG.  It seems unlikely to help your case, and likely to harm other work.  

>From a developer standpoint, aria-describedby and longdesc are the same.  They are both extra attributes you have to add.  They're the same amount of work.  A WYSWYG tool that supports one can be modified to support the other.  I can even think of ways to do it that would be transparent to the user.

-----Original Message-----
From: public-html-a11y-request@w3.org [mailto:public-html-a11y-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Judy Brewer
Sent: Saturday, May 14, 2011 9:55 AM
To: public-html-a11y@w3.org
Subject: Call for consensus on longdesc change proposal

Dear HTML A11Y TF:

Please read the longdesc change proposal, which Laura has agreed is now stable:
http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/InstateLongdesc

A lot of work has been done on this; thanks to Laura and others that have contributed.

We will discuss consensus on this in the Text Alternatives Sub-Group call on Monday 16 May.
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-a11y/2011May/0359.html

Thanks,

- Judy

--
Judy Brewer    +1.617.258.9741    http://www.w3.org/WAI
Director, Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) MIT/CSAIL Building 32-G526
32 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA,  02139,  USA  
Received on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 20:15:54 GMT

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