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

RE: longdesc quality statistics

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2012 14:36:00 -0700
To: "'David Singer'" <singer@apple.com>, "'Charles McCathie Nevile'" <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
Cc: <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000f01cd990a$4434b500$cc9e1f00$@ca>
David Singer wrote:
> But.
> a) why would anyone now implement longdesc knowing that the
> descriptions that they'd expose to users were, for the vast majority,
> 'hopelesslt bad'?

1) There is no other functional replacement in effect today. Proposed
alternative techniques do not meet all of the use-case requirements (for
example, James' iFrame example fails when the hidden iFrame content contains
tab-focusable content such as links, which will grab the focus but not
display so on screen - a contradiction of WCAG Requirements; the content
cannot be exposed to sighted users directly).

2) A pressing and urgent need for a conformant solution for HTML5, even if
it's not perfect, to address author needs now. 

	"John's use of the word "immediate" is not an overstatement." -
Geoff Freed

3) This can also be seen as a contextual issue: expectations can and will
vary dependant on the content and content source (i.e. I could expect a good
experience from content authored by Pearson Publishing, but have a lower
expectation from other sites, such as some of the adult content sites in
Steve's data-grab). I think we need to give credit to our users to be able
to assume a certain amount of responsibility in managing expectations.

> b) why would any end user needing more information bother to look at
> the longdesc, knowing that the overwhelming majority of the time,
> they'd be wasting their time getting something hopelessly bad?

See 2 & 3 above.

I will also note that there is nothing here that is forcing content authors
to actually use @longdesc if they are philosophically opposed to do so.
Barring others from doing so, purely on philosophical grounds however, is to
my mind overstepping our mandate.

Received on Saturday, 22 September 2012 21:36:40 UTC

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