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Re: LONGDESC usage statistics

From: Marjolein Katsma <access@javawoman.com>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 21:07:49 +0100
Message-Id: <4.1.20000214205418.00cbca70@pop3.demon.nl>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
I'm replying to a post found on the archives:

From: peter.b.l.meijer@philips.com
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <0056890007931364000002L942*@MHS>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 16:42:42 +0100
Subject: LONGDESC usage statistics?

-----------------

"Does anyone have actual usage statistics on the LONGDESC tag? 
My guess would be that it is rarely used on the web as compared
to the ALT tag. Unlike the ALT tag, which plays a double role 
by also giving a nice "tooltip" popup to sighted users of 
several mainstream browsers, LONGDESC seems to serve a much 
smaller audience. Is there any chance that this will change?"

If ALT is used more than LONGDESC that would not be surprising. Already in HTML 3.2 the use of the ALT attribute for images was strongly advised although not required. Since many graphical browsers have some sort of support for it that is useful for sighted users whether or not images are turned on or not authors are encouraged to use ALT.

LONGDESC is new in HTML 4 - and I have not been able to find any information on its support. Especially since graphical currently browsers don't seem to support it, there's hardly any incentive to use it.

Will this change?

Only, I think, when two conditions are fulfilled:
1) there must be real support in user agents and/or assistive technology and 
2) web authors must be made aware of its existence and usefulness (see 1).

At the moment I am actively researching which (speech) browsers or screen readers provide support for any of the special "accessibility" attributes:
LONGDESC (for IMG and FRAME)
SUMMARY (for TABLE)
ABBR (for table cells)
I haven't got very far with this yet...

The answers to these questions are especially important for me as I'm working on the next set of tag definitions for Allaire HomeSite and Studio: I'm trying to find out if there is *any* accessibility software (screen readers or speech browsers) that support the special accessibility attributes defined in HTML 4. If so, I'll include these attributes in the tag definitions making it easier for authors to use these attributes in their web pages and also making them more aware of their existence. (BTW, HomeSite seems to have more than a 50% market share in HTML editors - so that *would* make a difference.)

(Support for the TITLE attribute is already provided in the tag definitions since this *is* supported in several browsers - even if to different extent.)

If anyone can provide any information on this I'd appreciate it very much. Either on the list  (I just subscribed an hour ago!) or by private email.

Thanks,

Marjolein Katsma
HomeSite Help - http://hshelp.com/
Bookstore for Webmasters - http://hshelp.com/bookstore/bookstore.html
Received on Monday, 14 February 2000 15:08:00 GMT

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