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[whatwg] longdesc [was: A new attribute for <video> and low-power devices]

From: Jim Jewett <jimjjewett@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 18 May 2009 20:08:19 -0400
Message-ID: <fb6fbf560905181708w15b9af5fx74b9232909106bc7@mail.gmail.com>
> In the ~0.1% of images where
> longdesc= is used, it's misused literally over 99% of the time:

> http://blog.whatwg.org/the-longdesc-lottery

Responding for the archive; that blog bost keeps getting cited, but it
isn't up to Mark's usual standards.  longdesc is not a success story,
but neither is it the miserable failure suggested by those numbers.

The 99.9% unused is (or at least was) probably close to correct, and
is a good thing.  I just checked the front page of CNN, where there
are 137 images, of which at most one would benefit from a longdesc --
and even that one is pretty questionable.

The 99% misused is at best debatable.  I'm pretty sure that using a
longer human-readable description instead of an URL was once
(admittedly long ago) recommended.  It worked at least as well with
the browsers I tested with at the time.  Blanks should be treated the
same way as blank alts -- an explicit statement that this image does
not need a long description.  URLs which are redundant to something
else in the area are actually a good thing, since that "something"
isn't standardized. (aria-described-by should offer a better solution
going forward.)

http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/Longdesc_usage makes it clear that useful
(if not pedantically correct) usage is much greater than 1% of the
actual usage.  Not as high as it should be, certainly, but still
better than, say, the percentage of tables which represent data rather
than layout.

Received on Monday, 18 May 2009 17:08:19 UTC

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