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Re: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?

From: Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2012 20:42:09 +0000
To: Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>
Cc: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>, Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20120307204209.GB28192@opera.rednote.net>
Silvia Pfeiffer writes:
> On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 6:04 AM, Leif Halvard Silli
> <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no> wrote:
> > Janina Sajka, Wed, 7 Mar 2012 16:47:51 +0000:
> >> Leif Halvard Silli writes:
> >
> >>> Question: Is there a chance that "we could do" @aria-describedat *now*?
> >>> I am convinced that the chances for a amicable solution would increase
> >>> greatly if one could move from talk to action with regard to
> >>> @aria-describedat.
> >>
> >> You're asking the core question, imho. I wish we could simply say "yes"
> >> and be done with it,
> >
> >> Unfortunately, ARIA-DescribedAt doesn't exist anywhere except on our "To
> >> Do" list.
> >
> > So, the process is the reason we can't say 'use @aria-describedat' ...
> 
> To me that also sounds like a non-argument or simply an excuse for not
> doing the right thing.
> 
> If W3C's standardisation process stands in the way of making better
> standards, then there is obviously something wrong here.
> 
> This is ultimately the reason why the WHATWG is developing "living
> standards", i.e. standards that continue to get improved.
> 
Oh, and this "living specification" is clearly superior because, because
what? A long text description mechanism is a core a11y requirement. This
fact has been explained over and over for half a decade
Yet this so-called "living specification" has managed always and
continually to ignore this a11y requirement. Yet you set it before us as
an example of responsive and responsible behavior? Who do you think
you're kidding?

> If we stop at a set feature list and arbitrarily argue that a spec is
> "finished" and are inflexible when new needs come up to actually react
> to market needs, we have failed as a standards organisation. Let's not
> repeat that error and instead let's find a way.
> 
No one has stopped. Please consider you may be familiar with only part
of the story. We're not refusing anything--except perhaps to be driven simply by
someone's caprice.

Perhaps, Silvia, you won't be surprised to hear that we are engaged in
use case development and requirements gathering. Sound familiar? Surely
you didn't expect we would set out simply to replace HTML
4's longdesc? Or blithely to mediate the html WG's WHAT's religious
aversion to longdesc?

By way of example Epub has an elaborated requirement:
http://diagramcenter.org/development/epubdescribedat.html

> Ultimately, what is written in the spec isn't that useful anyway,
> because what counts is implementations, so if browsers start
> implementing a feature such as @aria-describeat, we're better off as a
> accessibility community independent of whether that feature is written
> down in a current ARIA specification or in fact anywhere else.
> 
Oh, wonderful. Let's all start doing things our own way. Now there's a path
toward interoperability and reliability. And, with nothing written down,
you don't even need to worry about conformance because there'll be
nothing to conform to.

> So, if we really don't want to touch the ARIA spec as it currently
> stands, I would suggest a way out would be to create a Community Group
> that starts discussing changes / additions to the ARIA spec and writes
> up some documents. Things that come to mind here are
> @aria-describedat, or the finer details of @aria-hidden. I'm sure we
> can thing of other things, too.
> 
All I can say is that I'm glad, very glad that Boeing doesn't build
jetliners according to such processes. I'm also glad my surgeon isn't
trained to conform to such standards. Spontaneity is wonderful in its
place, but so very unhelpful out of place.

Janina

> Regards,
> Silvia.

-- 

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, 7 March 2012 20:42:34 UTC

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