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Re: Comment on HTML-longdesc Last Call.

From: Charles McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2013 13:26:43 -0700
To: public-html-a11y@w3.org, "Guy Moreau" <gmyx@gpws.ca>
Message-ID: <op.w0c52thky3oazb@chaals.local>
Hello Guy,

Thanks for your review...

On Tue, 16 Jul 2013 14:27:34 -0700, Guy Moreau <gmyx@gpws.ca> wrote:

> In my opinion, 3.0.3 User Agents (UAs) is deficient. While it requires
> UAs to make the link available, it arguably does not require anything
> more than access to the source code.
> My rational is that access to the source code is a regular user
> interface. Access to source code is provided in most if not all UAs. The
> word 'available' does not specify what we can do with the link or how we
> use it.
> As a result of using the word 'available', I feel there is nothing in
> 3.0.3 that would compel UAs to make easy access to longdesc links
> possible. I feel it needs to be more prescriptive to UAs that everyone
> should benefit from longdescs.

Yes, it is clear that different implementors may interpret this in  
different ways.

However, it is unclear that trying to be more prescriptive is really  

For example, simply providing an option in a context menu is, in my  
opinion, an extremely poor-quality implementation. It certainly doesn't  
match the normal experience of links, which are activated as their  
"primary interaction", and which are normally immediately discoverable  
visually and through alternative interfaces such as audio, braille, etc.

But it is very likely that if we propose this as an example, it is what  
implementors will do. Despite a decade of discussion, and clear  
demonstration that following the informative advice in the HTML 4  
specification leads to implementations that actively cause problems for  
users, I only know of two implementations that don't follow it, and their  
collective US market-share is effectively negligible.

Some of this was discussed (among other things) in relation to Bug 21566:  

> I am suggesting a change or addition:
> "If the longdesc value is valid, User agents must make the link
> actionable or able to be activated to all users through the regular user
> interface(s) similar to regular links."
> Choose the wording the best describes how a regular link is activated.

While guidance seems to be important for user agent developers, since they  
follow it (in accessibility cases it seems often unthinkingly :( ) I think  
it is important to be conservative in giving UI guidance, since it can  
actually constrain the creativity of developers.

My experience for accessibility-related features is that providing  
examples leads to browsers taking that as an easy answer instead of  
actually applying their considerable skills to finding a good user  

> A Non-normative example: Add to the context menu of the image a 'Go to
> long description' menu item.
> I hope my opinion is clear and my goal is entice UAs to make longdesc
> readily available to all users.
> I also hope that you agree with me.

I agree with your goal, but I disagree that your proposal will improve the  
chances of reaching it. I suggest we do not make the change.



Charles McCathie Nevile - Consultant (web standards) CTO Office, Yandex
       chaals@yandex-team.ru         Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 11:27:14 UTC

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