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Re: ISSUE-30 (Longdesc) Change Proposal

From: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2009 11:24:56 +0000
Message-ID: <4AEACD08.9060000@cfit.ie>
To: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
CC: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>, Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>, public-html@w3.org
[Please forgive any crosstalk/mis-attribution in my quotes below]

Jonas Sicking wrote:
> This seems like something you should bring up with the WAI group. They
> were the ones choosing to design @aria-describedby by throwing away
> @longdesc rather than evolving it.

This is something that we have looked at. We can escalate it if needed
in PF. Please note that the development of @aria-describedby etc (in
fact any ARIA stuff) was a response to the limitations in current
declarative markup languages. So ARIA stuff is a semantic bridge. There
was therefore bound to be some overlap with existing elements in HTML
but then again ARIA is host agnostic and can be plugged into other
languages like SVG etc where there is no <longdesc>. So its kinda
disingenuous to suggest there was some causal link.

>>> * Clearer message to authors for how to make their pages accessible
>> We can have a clear message on the proper implementation of @longdesc that
>> would be simple to understand and deliver upon.

If @longdesc does make the final cut, then yes.


>>> * Simpler AT tools
>> ??  AT *today* supports @longdesc - I personally do not think that they
>> are going to now remove this support in future versions. Why would they?
>> Just to replace it with aria-describedby? Really?

I doubt it. The two will probably be supported in tandem - for legacy
reasons - even if the use of @longdesc is very small. Its a case of
those who find it useful - well, find it useful.

> The same can not be said for @longdesc and @summary, neither of
>>> which has seen any significant amount of real-world uptake.
>>> Yes, there is more than zero uptake, but I don't think there is
>>> enough to warrant having duplicate (or near-duplicate)
>>> features.

Again disingenuous. Those who find either feature useful, find it
useful. Admittedly there has been bad science on both sides (sic) so I
don't want to add to it a this point. This statement is my own opinion
and nothing else.

Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

>It is possible that we should deprecate longdesc - point out that it is
obsolete, *if* aria-describedby can do the same job in the real world.
>But I don't think that day has yet arrived, and until it does, leaving an existing and well-described HTML feature that is useful 
>(admittedly not to the whole universe, but to some people in some cases) in the spec seems a more rational choice. 

IIRC - The only thing that @longdesc trumps @aria-described by with is
the ability to reference a URI, and @aria-describedby is limited to an
IDREF. This could well change - but probably not until HTML 5 reached TR
- so it could be HTML 6 that has this one. I doubt there will be changes
like this in ARIA at this late stage. If it could happen though, that
would be a welcome change.

Cheers

Josh
Received on Friday, 30 October 2009 11:25:33 UTC

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