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Re: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?

From: Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2012 15:15:24 -0400
To: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Cc: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>, Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20120313191524.GA4810@sonata.rednote.net>
Leif Halvard Silli writes:
> Janina Sajka, Tue, 13 Mar 2012 11:51:17 -0400:
> > Leif Halvard Silli writes:
> >> Apart from ARIA 1.0, here are some other projects which have failed to 
> >> include @longdesc in the product:
> > 
> > This is not factual.
> > 
> > The failure is not ARIA's but HTML's.
> What I say is not entirely fact-less. HTMLwg bears responsibility. But 
> PF/ARIA bears indirect responsibility too. I have said bits of this 
> before, but here you get it all:
> ARIA defines where @title and @alt fits in in ARIA: In the accessible 
> name. But ARIA does not explain where the longdesc link - or if you 
> wish: an image with a longdesc - fits in.

It's not an ARIA attribute. ARIA isn't required to define it, describe
it, or its behavior. Had we a compelling reason to discuss it in our
docs, we could. However, we have not seen that reason.

You are incorrect to expect this from ARIA.

> An image with longdesc indicates 'complex data image'. Hence, it seems 
> logical with an early announcement about the presence the longdesc.
Complex data? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it's a painting by Raphael. I
would not characterize a long description of a painting as data

> However, while, ARIA expects AT to say 'image' if the element has 
> role=img, and expects the accessible name to be presented as the 
> content of the image, it  does not explain when and where the mere 
> presence of a longdesc should be conveyed to the user. ARIA is silent. 
> And makes no implicit expectations.
No reason we should. You still haven't made the case that we are
obligated to do this, or that we have a reason to do it.

> JAWS, for instance, announces 'Link to long description.' *after* the - 
> possibly long - alternative text has been read. But perhaps the user 
> should have been told in advance, before the alt text presentation 
> started, so that he/she could have immediately switched to the long 
> description instead of getting a surprise - that causes documented 
> irritation [Joshue's infamous user experience video] - in the user?
So, more work for the HTML-WG when longdesc is finally put back in the

> A result of the silence, is that the developers behind NVDA, which - I 
> gather - eat their own dog food, question the use of implementing 
> @longdesc. And another big player, VoiceOver, that seems just as 
> reluctant. ChromeVox ain't any better. And that what is perceived as 
> primary consumers of longdesc do not support for their users, is not a 
> good signal.
> Even when we look at the guides for how to use ARIA, then - yes - you 
> mention  longdesc. But you don't describe how to use it. Instead you 
> describe how to use aria-describedby for the purpose that @longdesc is 
> meant for. [All this is mentioned in the my reply to your buttressing 
> letter: <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/wai-xtech/2012Feb/0049>]

Indeed. You were most helpful on that topic and I forwarded my list
together with your comments on it as public comments on ARIA. These were
addressed in our F2F and are being followed up on.  The documentation is
being updated to remove the incorrect discussion of DescribedBy.

This is documented in my email last week at:

Some of the updated documentation is already in place. The rest will be
there soon.

> To me as a 'standards consumer', and as one who has 'fought' for 
> longdesc, this does not at all create the impression that you have 
> counted on @longdesc since 2004. Hence, I continue to conclude that 
> ARIA 1.0 has not integrated @longdesc into its own *thinking*. It is 
> fair enough that you did not create e.g. aria-describedAT yet. But it 
> is a bug in ARIA 1.0 that you did not integrate longdesc in the same 
> way that you integrated @title and @alt.
> -- 
Well, the docs are still a work in progress. If you have specific
suggestions of what ARIA should be saying, those would be appreciated.
But I can only repeat myself to say that we aren't required to do any
documentation of attributes that are not our own.


> leif halvard silli


Janina Sajka,	Phone:	+1.443.300.2200

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 Tuesday, 13 March 2012 19:17:00 UTC

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