W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > February 2012

Re: Using an image map for long described image links [Was: Revert Request]

From: Matthew Turvey <mcturvey@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2012 18:33:35 +0000
Message-ID: <CAFp5+ApizahAYv8Fg+8i0Gt1qrxEP_OhsLsp1Geo404SPVjJ0Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Cc: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>, Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>, Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>, Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
On 1 February 2012 08:41, John Foliot <john@foliot.ca> wrote:
> Matthew Turvey wrote:
>> Removing the HTML-A11Y-TF's "no visual encumbrance" and "no default
>> indicator" constraints would certainly improve perceivability for
>> sighted users, and the range of authoring options available :)
> It would be significantly more helpful if you bothered to try to understand
> what those requirements actually state; specifically that the visual
> encumbrance not be injected *in the web page* by the browsers, because (as
> has been pointed out more times than I care to recall) this has an artistic
> impact on the visual design of the page, a fact that even Jonas acknowledged
> as a problem in his Change Proposal:
>    "This is because page designers often have quite strict requirements on
> the visual appearance of the page and it would likely negatively impact the
> level of accessibility support if contents specifically for for example
> screen readers had to be provided within those requirements."
> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/DeprecateLongdesc
> Contrast that with proof of concept solutions such as the Opera "Tell Me
> More" extension, which places the visual indicator in the browser chrome.
> Note that if the author does not have those kinds of design restrictions, a
> possible solution might also be Dirk Ginader's jQuery solution, which
> leverages the @longdesc attribute with an on-screen indicator. As well, if
> the sighted end user is more concerned with having the longer description
> visually indicated over "artistic purity" they could use a plugin such as
> the Firefox "Longdesk" solution:
> https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/longdesk/ (which I have
> brought to the attention of the WG on more than one occasion.) Both of these
> solutions are in circulation today, and both work with @longdesc.
> All 3 of these solutions also support the 3 key requirements of
> discoverability, choice to consume or not consume, and preservation of HTML
> structured content; requirements that using aria-describedby with hidden or
> off-screen content simply cannot deliver.

I've already explained why I think a normal link on the image meets
these requirements:


> If however you Matt don't have those same artistic constraints, then by all
> means you are welcome to provide any type of linking mechanism to your
> longer textual description you desire: use an actual link, resurrect the "D"
> link if you want, place the long description in the same page, hide it,
> don't hide it, feel free to do whatever you please. There are no
> "accessibility police" that will track you down and condemn your actions.
> Just do not expect that because it works for *you* that it is the only
> acceptable solution for every other author or user on the web. The arrogance
> of that kind of suggestion is mind-boggling, simplistic and significantly
> more "controlling" than the flexibility that those in favor of retaining
> @longdesc have shown.
> JF

I think the poor quality of the longdesc-specific examples in the wild
confirms my own real world experience that this technique is never

For the record, "d"-links never worked either, for obvious reasons:


Received on Wednesday, 1 February 2012 18:34:03 UTC

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