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Re: longdesc quality statistics

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2012 20:21:09 -0400
Message-ID: <505E55F5.4060008@intertwingly.net>
To: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
CC: 'David Singer' <singer@apple.com>, 'Charles McCathie Nevile' <chaals@yandex-team.ru>, public-html-a11y@w3.org
On 09/22/2012 05:36 PM, John Foliot wrote:
> 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.

The keyword being 'today'.

I'll point out that there is a false dichotomy in play here.

Today there is only one mainstream browser that natively implements 
longdesc.  There are a number of users who depend on AT implementations 
of this attribute.

Neither of the change proposals that we have before us truly reflects 
'today'.  One sets expectations on mainstream browsers that are not 
currently met, and won't be met if it is perceived that that decision is 
by fiat.  The other makes non-conforming a function that is actively in use.

If the A11y Task Force could work together to produce an extension 
specification that actually captures 'today' as it really exists and not 
how we would like it to be; only then could joint work truly begin on a 
second extension specification that defines what we would really like to 

I haven't heard anybody here who would state that 'long textual 
descriptions' are not a valid use case.

I can't predict the future well enough to spell out how the second will 
end up.  Perhaps it will be backwards compatible enough that the name 
'longdesc' could be reused and the second spec could simply obsolete the 
first one.  Perhaps it won't be and either both could live side by side. 
  Or perhaps the second one will be clearly superior enough to make it 
worthwhile to obsolete longdesc sooner.

Any of these are possible, but we won't really know until we accurately 
capture a realistic description of 'today'.

- Sam Ruby
Received on Sunday, 23 September 2012 00:21:37 UTC

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