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

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 17:22:59 +1000 (EST)
To: WAI <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980424165530.7445C-100000@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
The reason behind using the ALT tagged image as the D-link is that it 
does not put little D's all over a page, unless that page is being viewed 
without images. In that case, they are handy things to have.

<TIRADE>
<HEAD><TITLE>Why D-link is a sensible standard to use</TITLE></HEAD>
<BODY>
While the D-link is not a standard as such, its use is noted by a growing 
number of 'authorities' on accessibility issues, such as W3C and Blind 
associations. Although blind people are not automaticaly handed 
information about D-links (or anything else - they have to ask for it), 
the D-link convention seems as sensible as any other before 
next-generation browsers are commonly used, and it is the one currently used.
(IBM's website is an example of current application in a commercial setting)

Using LONGDESC but not using a D-link in some form, while agreeing to the
concept of accessibility is effectively rejecting any practical move
towards it until browser companies can introduce an implementation which
achieves significant market penetration (admittedly only in a target
market - Lynx may be well placed for this). Unfortunately browser 
companies do not control things like the use of latest versions (much as 
they may like to). Accessible design is a responsibility of designers, in 
the same way that wheelchair access is a responsibility for architects.

Second class design may still be accessible, in the same way that the 
Brisbane convention centre is wheelchair accessible (most of it) - it is 
possible, but it is unnecessarily difficult. Producing such is simply 
doing second-class work.

Has anybody else gathered actual figures on teh use of images on 
websites, and how many of them are seen? Although my figure of only about 
half of users at most seeing the images on a large University's website 
were a surprise to me, I have not had the opportunity to follow up the 
study, nor has it been suggested by anybody that they are unusual. If 
they are even vaguely in the ballpark then D-linking is not just for the 
blind, but for a substantial portion of the market.

It is also true that the D-link relies on teh description provided being 
any good. But that is beyond the scope of what can be recommended by W3C 
- we just have to trust people's intelligence sometimes.

</TIRADE>

Does anybody have a good idea what an implementation of LONGDESC might
look like? An optional 'D' placed after each image perhaps, or at the
beginning/end of a page as per Ree's suggestion? (The difficulty with that
is that it would need to be held until HTML 5.0, or be used as a
convention, in which case we may as well stick with the existing
convention of D-links)

Charles McCathieNevile
Received on Friday, 24 April 1998 03:42:17 GMT

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