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RE: ISSUE-30 (Longdesc) Change Proposal

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 17:27:00 -0700 (PDT)
To: "'Lachlan Hunt'" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, "'Leif Halvard Silli'" <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Cc: <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <012e01ca582e$87afdd70$970f9850$@edu>
Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>
>
> 1. Making the image itself a link to its description:
>
> <a href="desc.html" rel="longdesc"><img src="image" alt="..."></a>

This quite simply will not see any take-up from the design community: this 
solution has existed since the advent of the <img> tag and has not been 
used.  Wishing, hoping and praying that it will suddenly become the norm is 
beyond ludicrous.
You might want to spend a minute or 5 investigating the long lost D link, 
and learn from that lesson... (http://bit.ly/Zb150)

As an accessibility advocate, I respect and understand that the design of a 
site is a central, basic blank of any site, and asking that sites be (and 
this is not my quote BTW) ..."littered with extra links for blind people...' 
is quite simply not going to happen.  Answer the question honestly, which 
choice would win out in a vote that included voters from design, marketing, 
'front-office' and the accessibility guy?  Sadly, I already know the answer 
based upon many years of experience being that accessibility guy.  You can't 
push water uphill, and asking for this kind of behavior from designers in 
2009 will fall on deaf ears (no puns intended)

>
> 2. If the image has a caption, including the link within that:
>
> <figure>
>    <img src="image" alt="...">
>    <legend>Some caption here.  <a href="desc.html" rel="longdesc">More
> information</a>.</legend>
> </figure>
>
> (Using <legend> for now cause the dt/dd idea needs to be dropped and we
> don't have another alternative in the spec yet)

Time and again the accessibility community is chastised for 'wishful 
thinking'.  Uhm... This presumes that many complex images will have a 
<legend> value, a mighty big presumption that will often fall flat in the 
face of 'design' considerations as noted above. Would this be a workable 
solution? Yes. But to ask that it be the 'only' solution is not realistic.


>
> 3. Using an adjacent link that shares the same parent as the image
> itself, and implying the association:
>
> <p><img src="image" alt="..."> <a href="desc.html" rel="longdesc">More
> information</a></p>


And so, with 3 complex images on the same page, using the example above, a 
screen reader will announce:

"Link: More information", "Link: More information", "Link: More 
information" - ya, that will solve the problem...  Sorry Lachlan, back to 
the drawing board on that one.

>
> This would need to have an implicit association algorithm defined to
> handle cases where there are more than one image and/or description
> links.


So let's invent something new to solve a problem that already has a viable 
if under-used solution? With no offence Lachlan, none of these 'alternative 
solutions' are workable in any real context.  They make assumptions and 
statements that fly in the face of real world development practices today.

I've already pointed to an actual, on-the-web-every-week example of a 
specific use-case where the content creator does not want *ANY* 
'accessibility' text associated to his image (a cartoon), as the text will 
distract from his principle content.  He's using @longdesc now, and (in a 
belt and suspenders solution) aria-describedby, but he's 'manipulating' the 
aria-describedby link to place it off screen: clearly he DOES NOT WANT text 
on screen with his image.

That there, in an 'in-the-wild' example, is the problem statement.  Contrast 
that to the 3 suggestions you have provided and reconcile that... none of 
the suggestions you have offered solve Kyle's 'problem' (however @longdesc 
does...)

JF
Received on Thursday, 29 October 2009 00:27:43 GMT

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