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

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 14:48:11 +0300
To: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Message-Id: <934BAE1E-E518-4DC3-B48F-0A2B94097842@iki.fi>
Cc: "'James Craig'" <jcraig@apple.com>, "'Lachlan Hunt'" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, <public-html@w3.org>, "'W3C WAI-XTECH'" <wai-xtech@w3.org>

On Sep 7, 2008, at 01:44, John Foliot wrote:

> Time and time again, we keep running into this 80/20 "rule", which  
> by it's
> very nature is discriminatory to the "edge" 20%, which most often is  
> the
> constituency that I and others advocate for.

The 80/20 rule is about publishing use cases that one might dream up-- 
not about users.

> NOBODY however has made a clear case on why maintaining @longdesc is  
> harmful to HTML 5, outside of the fear of "bloat"


I hope this is a clear way of putting it:

Authoring a long description and pointing to it using longdesc has an  
opportunity cost.

The potential effort available for making a Web publication/ 
application accessible is not infinite for a given publication/ 
application. The effort expended towards using longdesc (properly) is  
away from what would have been the next best accessibility improvement  
the author could make had the effort not been put into longdesc.

*If* longdesc is useless or near-useless in the context of the Web and  
the foregone other accessibility improvement would have been useful,  
people relying on Web publication/application being accessible are  
worse off if HTML5 lures some authors to put their finite effort into  
longdesc and away from something more useful. Making people worse off  
like that would be bad and, therefore, "harmful to HTML5".

- -

Aside: I agree that Lachlan's research setup has the problem you  
described. However, longdesc has been in one of those W3C specs that  
software implementors actually paid attention to and yet after a  
*decade* it has the problems you describe. So out in the real world-- 
the ultimate lab that tests if chicken and egg problems are  
surmountable and UI design workable--longdesc has had a decade-long  
test run and is failing. How long a test window should a feature have  
before cutting our losses and trying something else?

-- 
Henri Sivonen
hsivonen@iki.fi
http://hsivonen.iki.fi/
Received on Sunday, 7 September 2008 11:48:54 UTC

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