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Re: My case for the obsoletion of longdesc (Was: 48-Hour Consensus Call: InstateLongdesc CP Update)

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2012 06:34:44 -0500
Message-ID: <CAOavpvf+TwiTxepxhZUKAjVGhNL1G6pxU=ORAysG1HuoPn5tGA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>
Cc: HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, w3c-wai-pf@w3.org, "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <gregory.rosmaita@gmail.com>
Hi Josh,

> I also like the idea of @longdesc being automatically read on focus (after
> any other important link info was read etc) and then stopped on any other
> keypress. Rather like the way that aria-describedby is currently
> implemented. I think that is elegant.

I would not agree that forcing a long description upon a user is elegant.

Gregory J. Rosmaita  has previously pointed out the difference between
terse and verbose descriptors. In fact just last month he wrote the
following to me in a private email. It is reprinted here with his

ever since i first started working with the W3C, i've been attempting
to explain that while a picture may be worth a thousand words, that
doesn't mean i want to hear all one-thousand words all at once or at
this particular moment... i do, however, absolutely need to know that:
1) the author has inserted an image here, so it is probably relevant
to the content (the purpose of "alt"); 2) that there is a long
description of the image available should i need/want it; 3) that i
can use familiar structural navigational features and commands to
obtain the description's contents, with the ability to stop speech and
review in detail (i.e. by character) or by structure (i.e. current
list item, next list item, list item x out of y) the structured
content used to provide the long description; and 4) the confidence
that when i am satisfied with the amount of information obtained from
the long description, i can and will return to the exact place in the
main content from which i initiated exposition of the long

longdesc fulfills all my requirements and needs, and i fully support
its retention in HTML5.

Best Regards,

Laura L. Carlson
Received on Monday, 17 September 2012 11:35:12 UTC

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