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RE: longdesc

From: Glenda L Sims <gsims@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Sun, 2 Oct 2005 08:08:34 -0500
Message-ID: <87DBA06C9A5CB84B80439BA09D86E69EC33812@MAIL01.austin.utexas.edu>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

I second what Patrick advises about longdesc.  It has always frustrated me that longdesc seems designed just for screenreaders.  I'd much rather let everyone have access to the longer description through a plain ole link on that page.  Longer descriptions aren't just for the visually impaired, for example, they can help people with cognitive disabiliites.
Reminds me of one of my favorite Derek Featherstone quotes.  
" 'A picture is worth a thousand words; some people need the thousand words.'  Well, I always extend this one more and say, 'Some people actually want and need both.' So why not give them both? Let's make it so that everybody can benefit. Why hide something in ... longdesc? "
Isn't Derek just brilliant?
glenda sims | ut austin | 512.232.7738 | gsims@austin.utexas.edu | glendathegood.com


From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org on behalf of Patrick H. Lauke
Sent: Thu 9/29/2005 4:17 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: longdesc

Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

> It is generally supported by extensions - there is an Opera script that 
> adds a link if you want it, and I believe there is something similar
> for  IE. In Mozilla you can get the link in the properties, and then
> copy/paste  it to follow - I am not sure if the Opera script was written
> to work in  Mozilla too, but it may have been.

Pimping my own wares for Firefox:
(with a more thorough explanation and test page at

But in general, it boils down to: if by "supported" we mean "exposed to
the user in any kind of workable, user friendly way" then the answer
looks rather bleak out of the box.
I would not rely on having important information simply linked to from a
longdesc attribute - and I would certainly not advocate having the "[D]"
link either. A discreet link with meaningful text after the image would
be my choice...

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Sunday, 2 October 2005 13:08:39 UTC

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