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Re: 48-Hour Consensus Call: InstateLongdesc CP Update

From: Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2012 13:09:39 +1000
Message-ID: <CAHp8n2kVstvZ6pPr+SYXk9MtabQRC9gWW1Z5hOQOX4LTUGkgUQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Cc: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>, Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
On Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 9:20 AM, John Foliot <john@foliot.ca> wrote:
> If the HTML5 WG is prepared to accept that a certain level of UI in fact be
> prescribed in the spec here, then I think that would be an overall net
> benefit.  The question is, do the Browser Vendors accept that suggestion?

While HTML5 does not prescribe UI (i.e. normative), it sometimes
provides recommendations (i.e. informative) on what browsers
should/could do.

This is the case for the video controls [1]:
"If [the controls] attribute is present,..the user agent should expose
a user interface to the user. This user interface should include
features to..."

or for input[range] [2]:
"...If the user agent provides a user interface for selecting a
number, then the value must be set to a best representation of the
number representing the user's selection as a floating-point number.
User agents must not allow the user to set the value to the empty

and these are just two random examples I picked.

Giving developers (and designers) a hint as to what they should be
implementing in the UI is always helpful to get a feature implemented.
The HTML4 statement that the UI should be different for when a
img@longdesc is inside a <a> element to when it's not is the opposite
of that: it creates a double UI challenge without a hint as to what to

I am aware that we have several suggestions on this list now for what
could be done and that is great. It seems it took that many years and
all that implementation experience to arrive at those suggestions
(which, incidentally, is normal for a new feature). In my personal
opinion: if we can fix it up such that it is actually implementable in
a UI, and we have at least one or two UAs willing to give it a try, we
can give the attribute another chance.

I am, however, concerned that some browsers already support
img@londesc in their a11y APIs in a different way such that our new
way of doing it will require them to make non-backwards-compatible
changes. Are they willing to do that? I don't know.

Just my 2c worth.


[1] http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/media-elements.html#attr-media-controls
[2] http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/states-of-the-type-attribute.html#range-state-%28type=range%29
Received on Tuesday, 18 September 2012 03:10:27 UTC

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