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FW: Issue 30 (Was: RE: Getting HTML5 to Recommendation in 2014)

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2012 16:01:39 -0700
To: <public-html@w3.org>
Cc: "'HTML Accessibility Task Force'" <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <01e601cd9783$e6972ef0$b3c58cd0$@ca>
Resending as the first attempt didn't appear to hit the mailing list.

JF


> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Foliot [mailto:john@foliot.ca]
> Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 3:33 PM
> To: 'Sam Ruby'; 'Adrian Roselli'
> Cc: 'public-html@w3.org'
> Subject: RE: Issue 30 (Was: RE: Getting HTML5 to Recommendation in
> 2014)
> 
> Sam Ruby wrote:
> >
> > In fact, there is also a point that I would like clarification on.  I
> > would like to know if longdesc is only ever intended to be used in
> > controlled educational environments with significant copyright
> > restrictions and for that usage universal adoption by mainstream
> > browsers is not a requirement?
> >
> 
> If I may:
> 
> I think we have unquestionably demonstrated that there is an immediate
> need TODAY for a mechanism that addresses the need for longer textual
> descriptions in the EDU sector.
> 
> However, I will also point out that Geoff Freed of NCAM referenced a US
> Federally funded initiative that is seeking to improve the overall
> corpus of Longer Textual descriptions on the web, without specifically
> targeting that to one unique vertical market.
> 
> We currently have one publishing vertical that is signally an urgent
> need, but that does not exclude others: Museums, government sector,
> health sector, etc.; content producers publishing content that is not
> as ephemeral as other popular web content.
> 
> In fact, we have collected evidence
> (http://www.d.umn.edu/~lcarlson/research/ld.html#wild) from the
> Governments of Canada, Australia, South Korea, Japan, the States of
> California and Massachusetts, and more who are also using longdesc in
> their current production workflow. We have identified other verticals
> as well, including health (CDC, Substance Abuse and Mental Health
> Services Administration (SAMHA), National Cancer Institute, Hipocampo),
> Art, Libraries or Museums (Dayton Art Institute, Yorkshire and
> Humberside Books, Santa Barbara Public Library), and Industry (IBM, the
> Linux foundation) so to suggest that this is only for content of an
> educational nature is to color the conclusion in an unhelpful way.
> 
> Do all sites need @longdesc? Probably not. In Steve's raw data based on
> the top 10,000 web sites home pages I noted with an ironic smile how
> many of them were "adult" sites - they draw a *lot* of traffic but do
> we really need a long description of "Suzi Q"? I suspect not. (Note, I
> make no value judgment on the content of those sites - they have every
> much the right to use the public internet as you or I, or the
> University of Victoria, the Australian Government or CSS Squirrel -
> sites who are all producing @longdesc content today.)
> 
> > Or is there a universal need for "long textual descriptions" that is
> > not
> > currently being met?
> 
> I would suggest that this is a truer statement. The reasons why this
> need is not being met likely can trace its roots to a number of
> reasons, but suffice to say that one way of classifying the current
> situation is to reference the movie "The Field Of Dreams" - there is
> little demand because there is little supply, there is little supply
> because there is little demand.
> 
> This is a Catch 22 problem, and I would further suggest that the first
> thing we need is a means to create supply, and easy access to that
> supply, at which point the demand will likely increase. (ref: Field of
> Dreams, Henry Ford and the Model T) Will it see massive adoption on the
> Top 10,000 homepages? That question has no relevance - many of those
> pages may never need to use @longdesc.
> 
> 
> > If so, what changes are required in order to get
> > browser vendors to sign on?
> 
> A workable technical solution that meets the use-cases presented. There
> is no argument that the requirement for longer textual descriptions
> will always reside in the edge-case bucket, but when that edge case
> emerges, it is critical that we have a solution to meet that need.
> 
> 
> > Another possible answer is that this is indeed a market that long
> > descriptions (by whatever the attribute is named) is a requirement
> for.
> >   In which case, we need to take this data very seriously first the
> TF
> > and ultimately the HTML WG as a whole will need to determine what
> > corrective course corrections is needed.
> >
> > And I will note that these answers are not necessarily mutually
> > exclusive.  Perhaps we need two separate attributes.
> 
> I fear that 2 separate attributes "forever" would be overly complex,
> and a burden to authors.
> 
> I suspect that maintaining the status quo with @longdesc today, while
> working on a superior implementation of a method to deliver longer
> textual descriptions would prove more fruitful for all concerned. That
> effort could follow one of 2 paths: improve @longdesc while retaining
> the attribute, or work on a *future* replacement with a different name.
> If the latter, then a managed path forward would also be a requirement;
> ripping and replacing will have significant negative consequences on
> those examples of conformant @longdesc that it would be counter-
> productive to do so.
> 
> I think that if you actually queried the majority of those involved
> with this debate that you would find a broader support for a 2-phased
> approach such as this, but I state that without actually asking others,
> and so only offer that as personal opinion.
> 
> JF
Received on Thursday, 20 September 2012 23:02:18 UTC

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