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Re: D-Link and LONGDESC (GL type stuff)

From: R. Dolloff <averil@concentric.net>
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 13:54:25 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Addressing comments made by several different people in this thread.

Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:
Remember that LONGDESC does not contain a long description or any text. It
contains a link. Thus it is a link to information, not information itself.

There seems to be some lingering confusion as to the purpose of this
attribute, generated, as far as I can tell, by the name of the attribute
itself. If it is JUST a link, then perhaps it could be called DLINK instead.

Jon Gunderson wrote:
In reality the LONGDESC will probably be used in situations where the
author is less concerned about visual formatting and so the display of the
D-Link will not be visually disruptive.

In fact, blind web authors are often just as concerned with visual
formatting as anyone else. It must be pointed out that LONGDESC is not just
for the translation of static visual information as contained in a fixed
graphic, but also used to describe what's taking place in, say, a Quicktime
movie or some kind of sound application (to name just a couple of things).
More on this at the end of this email.

Jim Willett wrote (in an email, apparently, to Gregg Vanderheiden):
If there was a way to "embed" the d-link icon perhaps in the lower
right corner of the image in question it would avoid additional page

and Gregg Vanderheiden replied:
Interesting thought.    I wonder if page authors or artists would
complain.   Might be a problem for smaller graphics but could be very
nice on larger ones.  Hmmmmm.

I can't speak for anyone else, but as a page author and "artist" myself,
yes, I would complain. I want _my_ work to appear on my pages without
interference from some other agent, well-intentioned or not.

Additionally, please consider that web authors, disabled and non-disabled,
don't always create their own graphics, relying instead on the use of
public domain graphics they can acquire from a myriad of sources on the
web. As such, it would be well-nigh impossible to impose (or suggest) a
universal standard in creating graphics with the suggested embedding.
Further, there is the nightmare of vendor implementation and getting all
graphics software manufacturers to add such a feature. While browser
vendors _might_ consider this more quickly, I can't imagine it would be
easy for a browser to implement some kind of consistent, non-invasive
embedding either. Granted, I haven't the foggiest notion what's involved in
that from a technical perspective.

Finally, where the purpose of extended description is concerned, please
don't regard this as SOLELY an accommodation to disability, therefore
something to be camouflaged or "turned off." Robust descriptions of a
graphic could also be used or considered as a teaching device to people
learning how to create or compose graphics. Reading the written description
of action taking place in a movie might be incentive to go back and view it
again, or even point out something that was missed. And if people weren't
interested in the lyrics to a song, liner notes wouldn't be included in
albums or CDs.

Respectfully submitted,

Ree' Dolloff
Received on Thursday, 23 April 1998 14:52:34 UTC

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