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

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

From: James Craig <jcraig@apple.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2012 13:52:57 -0700
Cc: HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, w3c-wai-pf@w3.org
Message-id: <06794E10-C7F5-4605-9C78-362FA16946F9@apple.com>
To: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
On Sep 15, 2012, at 8:22 AM, Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com> wrote:

> According to the HTML5 specification obsolete features must not be used by authors [1]. Obsolete features trigger errors. An error for a proper longdesc is simply wrong. People should not be reprimanded for doing the right thing. On the contrary, they should be applauded.

As I mentioned to Charles, I think a validity warning or error is appropriate here, if for no other reason than it will alert the author that longdesc is not well supported and likely never will be, and give them the opportunity to consider how their content could be made more accessible.

>> 1. *There are existing, valid alternatives to longdesc in HTML 5, some
>> of which work
> Not from all perspectives.
> http://www.d.umn.edu/~lcarlson/research/ld-solutions.html

I acknowledge your perspective but disagree with your failure conclusions on many of the techniques.

I also disagree with the (IMO misleading) presentation of your PASS/FAIL markers. Obviously this discussion is more nuanced than that, but you've presented subjective conclusions in an attempt to convince readers unfamiliar with the topic. Even some of the objective statements ("Is in numerous guidelines around the world") is more subjective than you make it out to be. First, iframe accessibility techniques are certainly in numerous guidelines around the world, accessibility-specific guidelines and otherwise. Second, the purpose of those accessibility guidelines is to provide accessible content. If that is done, longdesc is not required, especially if it's done in a way that provides access to more users.

>> To the best of my knowledge, one of these approaches (the iframe
>> example listed at http://cookiecrook.com/longdesc/iframe/)
> iframe to the best of my knowledge:
> http://www.d.umn.edu/~lcarlson/research/constriants/iframe.html

I disagree with all of those conclusions, and must also note that your synopsis fails to mention that longdesc is not implemented in many major browsers, while iframe is implemented in all of them.


> I realize that browser vendors such as Apple have a vested interest in ISSUE-30. If  it was not worth the effort I find it difficult to believe that we would still be having this debate.

This is not specific to Apple's opinion on the matter. This is a discussion about what is best for the future of accessible content on the Web.

Received on Wednesday, 19 September 2012 20:53:40 UTC

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