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

Re: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?

From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2012 06:15:41 +0000
Message-ID: <CAEhSh3eru75tu7985vUkXrZgvMxcb3pug9WMedhcV--yAhHx-g@mail.gmail.com>
To: Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>
Cc: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>, Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, Michael Smith <mike@w3.org>, Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>, Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>
On Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 4:14 AM, Silvia Pfeiffer
<silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 9, 2012 at 12:49 PM, Leif Halvard Silli
> <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no> wrote:
>> Laura Carlson, Thu, 8 Mar 2012 12:06:52 -0600:
>> First off: Steve yesterday confirmed that Internet Explorer's longdesc
>> implementation is plain wrong: It treats the URL as text string. Thus
>> it implements it precisely the way the WHATWG blog once ridiculed the
>> @longdesc usage for.  See this bug:
>> https://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=16268
> If that is indeed the case, then all those people that have put
> hyperlinks into the @longdesc attribute have ended up with non-usable
> longdesc values in IE. @longdesc is therefore not usable for the
> purposes that we intend it to be used for, since it is not implemented
> compatibly across browsers.

(a) That @longdesc is not reliably implemented across all popular user
agents is hardly news.

(b) Even if @longdesc is exposed as a string in some MSAA field in
some versions of IE, that does not mean that behavior is not expected
and handled by key AT such as JAWS, Window-Eyes, and Dolphin. For
example, they may just query the DOM directly in IE's case.
Notoriously, a lot of accessibility has to be hacked on top of MSAA
because its semantics are woefully inadequate.

> This to me is a very strong argument to move on to a new attribute so
> we can start on a clean slate for all relevant elements with well
> defined implementation details.

You'll stil have to hack on top of MSAA somehow.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Received on Friday, 9 March 2012 06:16:30 UTC

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