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

Re: Expanding longdesc use

From: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2012 15:18:29 -0700
Cc: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Message-id: <423775E6-AF3F-49A2-897E-131322ECAD69@apple.com>
To: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>

On Mar 15, 2012, at 15:09 , Leif Halvard Silli wrote:

> David Singer, Thu, 15 Mar 2012 11:30:40 -0700:
>> On Mar 15, 2012, at 11:05 , David MacDonald wrote:
>>> There has been some discussion about describedby as a replacement 
>>> for longdesc. However, screen reader user would have to encounter 
>>> the description twice (once on the image and once on the page), 
>>> which by definition is "long". The long text on the page clutters 
>>> the page for most sighted users. (a deterrent for implementation by 
>>> webmasters)
>> 
>> I think you are bumping up against a tension here that we have never 
>> really resolved.  It lies between
>> 
>> "you haven't really provided for accessibility unless there are 
>> features that are explicitly and exclusively there for accessibility" 
>> 
>> "provisions which are invisible to the non-accessibility user and 
>> author tend to be poorly authored; accessibility as a natural 
>> consequence of good design for everyone is a better goal"
>> 
>> I think a goal of having descriptions, transcripts, alternative text, 
>> alternative media, available and potentially useful to everyone would 
>> be good, myself -- I lean towards the second.
> 
> If you meant that one could rather have used a visual text link, then 
> you are right - that is almost always possible - technically speaking. 
> But that was not what David M was discussing: He discussed what to do 
> when it has been concluded - by the designer or whoever - that there 
> should be no visual link. 

OK, so maybe I should be corrected, and I apologize if I misunderstood.

But 'normal content' is often not 'visible' today anyway - common web design hides stuff and does appealing appearance (slide-in, and so on) when wanted. I am not sure I agree with either of (a) if the description is part of the 'normal content' it'll annoy 'normal users' or (b) the affordance, if needed, that shows the description, should be specific to accessibility users.  Both the content and the affordance may need *identifying* ('this links to the long description of that'), and again, not really specifically for accessibility users, though their software needs this discoverable link.

David Singer
Multimedia and Software Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Thursday, 15 March 2012 22:20:22 UTC

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