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Re: Is longdesc a good solution? (was: Acessibility of <audio> and <video>)

From: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Date: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 01:30:48 +0200
Message-ID: <48C06FA8.6000400@lachy.id.au>
To: David Poehlman <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>
Cc: public-html@w3.org, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>

David Poehlman wrote:
> When I formulate an hypothesis, it is based on some facts I understand to be 
> true

Hypothesis don't have to be based on just facts.  They can be and often 
are based on observations.  I formulated my hypothesis based on 
observations relating to to the use of longdesc in practice, such as 
Hixie's statistics showing very limited use in practice, looking at 
pages that use it as intended and seeing that they often duplicate with 
an ordinary link, and Joshue's videos showing that the user didn't even 
make use of the longdesc attribtue at all.

> Why do we have longdesc in the first place?  It was certainly not born in a 
> vacume.

Longdesc seems to have been added to HTML4 as a potential solution for 
providing long descriptions of images for the cases where alt is 
insufficient.  Yet that doesn't mean its necessarily the best solution, 
and based on those observations above, it really doesn't appear to be a 
good solution at all.

Besides, there are lots of things in HTML4 that have been poorly 
designed and implemented, and I could ask the same question about lots 
of things in it.  For example, why is there a nohref attribute on area 
elements?  Why is there an accept attribute on form elements?  Why do we 
have the scheme attribute on meta elements?  What is the version 
attribute for on the html element?  While each of those may have had 
hypothetical uses in mind when they were added, none of those have any 
practical value at all and none of them have been included in HTML5 as a 
result.

-- 
Lachlan Hunt - Opera Software
http://lachy.id.au/
http://www.opera.com/
Received on Thursday, 4 September 2008 23:31:31 GMT

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