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

RE: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?

From: Léonie Watson <lwatson@nomensa.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2012 12:23:11 +0000
To: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
CC: W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>, Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>
Message-ID: <D4219A0ECCAE794C9ED7DC6F5A4C0CD537B3C98004@jupiter.intranet.nomensa.com>
Steve Faulkner wrote:
"the details element is an example of a conforming HTML5 feature that triggers a warning in the http://validator.w3.org/nu/<blocked::http://validator.w3.org/nu/>

"Warning: The details element is not supported properly by browsers yet. It would probably be better to wait for implementations."

If longdesc becomes conforming in HTML5, I would strongly favour a warning to inform developers of its lack of support."

    This makes sense. It's an accurate assessment of the situation. Encouraging developers to use an attribute without being aware of how well it's supported won't help either developers or users. We need to make longdesc work or find a workable alternative, but in the meantime we need to provide realistic information to developers.


Léonie.

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________________________________
From: Steve Faulkner [mailto:faulkner.steve@gmail.com]
Sent: 12 March 2012 11:21
To: Laura Carlson
Cc: W3C WAI-XTECH; HTML Accessibility Task Force; Michael(tm) Smith; Janina Sajka; Judy Brewer
Subject: Re: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?

Hi Laura,

you wrote:

"A warning for a proper longdesc is simply wrong. People should not be
reprimanded for doing the right thing. On the contrary, they should be
applauded."

the details element is an example of a conforming HTML5 feature that triggers a warning in the http://validator.w3.org/nu/

"Warning: The details element is not supported properly by browsers yet. It would probably be better to wait for implementations."

If longdesc becomes conforming in HTML5, I would strongly favour a warning to inform developers of its lack of support.

regards
Stevef


On 8 March 2012 18:06, Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com<mailto:laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>> wrote:
Hi Steve,

> "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."
>
> I  find that to be an acceptable compromise.

First, two references:

1. Regarding conforming but with a warning the HTML Chairs' Decision
on ISSUE-30, stated:
"The weakest proposal was the one that makes longdesc conforming but
with a warning...there was a strong argument which is unique to this
proposal: if longdesc is conforming, user agents will be required to
support it; if there is a validator warning, users will be discouraged
from using it. This combination is the worst of all possibilities.
Eliminating this proposal early made the process of coming to a
resolution simpler." [1]

2. Obsolete but conforming features trigger HTML5 warnings with advice
to use a specific and different solution. [2]

Now, why obsolete but conforming is unacceptable to me:

A warning for a proper longdesc is simply wrong. People should not be
reprimanded for doing the right thing. On the contrary, they should be
applauded.

It has been substantially evidenced via the documentation of over
fourteen hundred real world examples of longdesc that authors do
indeed use this attribute in practice to improve accessibility. This
is a non-negligible number of examples that utilize longdesc in
meaningful ways. All of the images in those examples would be
significantly less accessible (some even totally inaccessible) without
it.

Breaking both compatibility with existing best practice (and
documentation of the same), as well as requiring a wide range of
tools, content, and authoring guidance to be updated in order to
achieve compatibility with a replacement for longdesc - for something
meant to solve the SAME problem, is an intolerable cost. It would be
an illogical undue burden and unacceptable to authors and
organizations that have already made investments in the use of
longdesc.

Longdesc solves problems and makes things better. Other proposed
solutions do not meet requirements and do not have an existing
critical support base of tools and educational materials.

Longdesc strengthens the language. Other techniques are either
nonexistent, retrograde, or makeshift substitutes that do not directly
provide the valuable semantics and critical backwards compatibility
that longdesc does. No better technical solution exists.

People with disabilities would be the losers if longdesc were made
obsolete but conforming. It would be an unnecessary atrocity on
authors and users with disabilities.

Best Regards,
Laura

[1]
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Aug/att-0112/issue-30-decision.html
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/html5/obsolete.html#obsolete-but-conforming-features


--
Laura L. Carlson



--
with regards

Steve Faulkner
Technical Director - TPG

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HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives - dev.w3.org/html5/alt-techniques/<http://dev.w3.org/html5/alt-techniques/>
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Received on Monday, 12 March 2012 12:24:14 GMT

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