W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html-a11y@w3.org > March 2012

Re: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?

From: Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2012 22:28:43 +0000
To: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Cc: Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20120307222843.GA595@opera.rednote.net>
Leif Halvard Silli writes:
> 
> I subsequently proposed that we write a separate specification for 
> @aria-describedAT/@longdesc. So rather than drop it, I suggest to run 
> with it.
> 
> Could we do that? We would have to make a change proposal which 
> includes - or eventually promises [I'm not sure what the chairs woudl 
> want] - a specification of '@aria-describedAT/@longdesc'.
> 
> I see 2-3 options of such a mini-spec - but there could be more:
> 
> * Either the spec describes aria-describedAT - and obsoletes @longdesc
> 
> * Or the spec describes aria-describedAT - and says that @longdesc can 
> be used, whenever aria-describedAT is used as well.
> 
> * Or we write a spec which defines @longdesc as an ARIA attribute - to 
> be used as you have envisioned @aria-descrbedAT. [Thus, we would drop 
> aria-descrbedat and only have @longdesc.]
> -- 
ARIA will do DescribedAT. When we do we will consider ramifications
across multiple markup environments, as we have always done, e.g. in a
separate response to Silvia Pfeiffer I noted that we're considering use
cases and requirements from Epub. Another example, we're interested in
ARIA over SVG.


So, writing an ARIA-DescribedAT should be considered an option to submit
to PF. That's certainly acceptable.

However, this wouldn't produce a solution today, or even next month, and
a11y has been waiting a long time.

My druthers would be to accept longdesc right away and call it obsolete
but conforming. That clearly signals that a replacement is expected
while providing needed functionality right away--the same it has been
available since html 4. As I said, this is my
preference. Others may have other views.

Lastly, I would agree that HTML could also craft a mechanism to serve
the need in a superior fashion. There's nothing wrong in doing that, but
that would take some time, certainly. Too bad so much time has been
wasted trying to make describedby fit where it just wasn't going to fit.
And, every day that passes with longdesc shoved aside is another day
when this core requirement is unmet in the spec. As previously noted, it
hasn't been met for half a decade. That's a long time especially for a
"living" specification that supposedly so responsive to needs.

I know you're trying to find a solution, Leif. I'm doing my best to be
as helpful as I can.

Janina


> Leif Halvard Silli

-- 

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 22:29:07 UTC

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