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Re: ISSUE-30 longdesc - Chairs Solicit Alternate Proposals or Counter-Proposals

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2011 16:55:10 +0200
To: James Graham <jgraham@opera.com>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <20110615165510638073.f464d082@xn--mlform-iua.no>
James Graham, Wed, 15 Jun 2011 16:11:19 +0200:
> On 06/15/2011 03:54 PM, Janina Sajka wrote:
>> Matthew Turvey writes:
>>> longdesc is not implemented in Orca or VoiceOver so is currently
>> Stop right there. Repeating untruths does not make them true.
>> aobviously, you haven't looked at:
>> html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/InstateLongdesc
> Sorry, could you be more clear about what exactly you mean here? [ snip ]

May I suggest a good-will reading: as soon as there is no doubt about 
the future and role of @longdesc in HTML5, then it will be implemented, 
in VoiceOver and Orca too.

Otherwise, Matthew broke into a dialog between Janina and Jonas about 
Jonas' upcoming CP. It is unclear to me how Matthew could propose the 
following, when he haven't read Jonas' proposal:

Matthew Turvey, Wed, 15 Jun 2011 10:21:45 +0100:
> I'd like to suggest that the HTML-A11Y Task Force's longdesc CP be
> withdrawn by amicable consensus so we don't have to spend any more
> time on this issue.

This sounds as if Matthew thinks status quote is the best. But, AFAIK, 
the original counter-proposal has not been resubmitted. Jonas, OTOH, 
has said that he is going to propose ARIA specifics related to 
aria-describedby. It would be great if HTML5 UAs became required to 
present @aria-describedby content as structured mark-up. But I am not 
certain that that is what Jonas is planning.

If I may interpret Matthew to have been speaking about Jonas' proposal, 
then he claimed the following:

> aria-describedby is more backward compatible than longdesc, because
> UAs that don't support it can still access the elements referenced by
> aria-describedby i.e. it is more robust.

However, it does not seem certain that UAs without ARIA support *can* 
access those elements, because Jonas has put forward the idea that 
aria-describedby can also "link" to *hidden* elements.

 However, Jonas' CP looks to me to have other potential problems as 

* No UA and no AT support links in aria-describedby resources - 
pointing to an anchor element would currently make the link be 
presented as "pure text", plus that the link *text* would be read 
twice: once as part of aria-describedby and once when the AT reaches 
that element via its normal presentation of the page.

* Even if aria-describedby treatment is enhanced to handle links, the 
link would be repeated unless aria-describedby is also given capability 
to handle invisible/hidden links, which in turn may have back-compat 

* Another back-compat issue that it I doubt that Jonas' CP will cater 
for, is the contextual menu etc that iCab, Opera and the Firefox 
plug-in display.

* The need to train users to use @longdesc correctly was brought up. 
However, given that @aria-describedby does not do what Jonas wants it 
to do (yet), despite that authors think it can present links 
(historical examples: myself and Jonas), correct and useufl use of 
aria-describebby needs much author training and weeding of 
misconseptions, too.

But all this is just more or less reasonable speculation until we see 
what Jonas' CP actually will propose.
Leif Halvard Silli
Received on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 14:55:40 UTC

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