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

RE: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2012 22:22:44 -0500
Message-ID: <20120307222244.30136wtsiv5m5y4k@wats.ca>
To: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Cc: Geoff Freed <geoff_freed@wgbh.org>, Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>, Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>, Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Quoting Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>:

> Geoff Freed, Thu, 8 Mar 2012 01:21:45 +0000:
>
>  Which in turns means that -
> in the end - @longdesc's burial is being prepared.

Hi Leif,

I think, inadvertently, you've hit on one of the problems - the  
headlong rush to burial, without a long and useful retirement, or even  
retirement plan in place.

I think that most who have thought this through to a logical end-game  
appreciate that having an ARIA attribute that delivers the required  
functionality is both useful and warranted. But we must also respect  
that it is going to take time to achieve conversion, and having HTML5  
holding a gun to our heads to do it now, right now, hurry up now, is  
applying inappropriate pressure disproportionate to need. As Janina  
has already pointed out, we *have* a mechanism in HTML to deliver the  
required functionality now, and it is only because those who cannot  
understand, or choose not to, are in a hell-bent rush to shovel dirt  
on @longdesc that we now appear to have an urgent need to get this  
into ARIA immediately.

Let's frame it this way: for all intents and purposes, aria-label and  
@alt both produce an accessible name for an image. Given that, should  
we obsolete @alt? Of course not! (Yet according to the pure logic of  
the argument, we could) One reason of course is that we have yet to do  
the right amount of education, we don't yet have enough user-agents to  
ensure that this is "universal" (or at least as universal as @alt is),  
etc. It is no different here.


>
>  <div><style scope>div{color:red}</style></div>
>
> One could argue that it should not be conforming, yet, because <style
> scope> has zero implementation, so far. In fact, if you look in
> public-html - in this moment, then you'll see that it isn't even clear
> how it will work ...  the CSS cascade is unclear:
> http://www.w3.org/mid/4F570227.8060707@mit.edu

Leif, as I outlined in my earlier email, the trials and tribulations  
of scoping rules for color and CSS pale against any requirement for  
persons with disabilities. I am sympathetic to their problems, but for  
lynx users, and screen reader users, color scoping is, shall we say,  
not important. Access to information is.


>
> So we do not necessarily need so *much* before we can put in HTML5 ...
> At the same time: It would be futile, in an directly accessibility
> related issue, to recommend people to use an attribute with zero
> implementation. And hence, yet another argument in favor of saying that
> the validity of @longdesc should depend on duplication with the
> @aria-describedAT attribute.

They should have a similar, perhaps identical implementation. but we  
need to de-link them from the discussion at this time: HTML5 is HTML5,  
and ARIA is ARIA, and one specification/standard should not be  
dictating a timeline to the other IMHO.

JF
Received on Thursday, 8 March 2012 03:23:08 UTC

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