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longdesc and ARIA Re: [html4all] some reflections on @alt usage

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 14:25:02 +0200
To: "Gez Lemon" <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, HTML4All <list@html4all.org>
Cc: "W3C WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.uabl30d5wxe0ny@widsith.local>

On Mon, 28 Apr 2008 12:15:09 +0200, Gez Lemon <gez.lemon@gmail.com> wrote:

> 2008/4/28 Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>:
>>  It should be noted that some of the suggestions outlined by John and
>>  myself were previously raised by Al and discussed on a thread back in
>>  February [1]:
>>
>>  [1] what's machinable [was: Re: ALT issue redux]
>>  http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/wai-xtech/2008Feb/0006.html
>>  http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/wai-xtech/2008Feb/0008.html
>
> Just to add to my position on using aria-describedby and
> aria-labelledby in response to Al's original message. I think
> aria-describedby could be considered an appropriate alternative to
> longdesc when the description exists in the same page, but obviously
> not when the description is in another document. I can also see there
> may be some edge-cases when aria-labelledby may be considered a
> suitable replacement for alt. These are edge-cases, as ARIA was
> designed to bridge the accessibility gaps with the current structure
> we have. Providing alt text for images wasn't one of those gaps, as
> there is already a suitable attribute.

Yep. In general, it seems a very bad idea to use ARIA where there is  
something existing that works, since you are relying on implementations.  
Even though 3 of the 4 desktop browsers have ARIA support announced and  
demonstrated (in varying stages of maturity - come on Safari, there's  
time...) it makes more sense to rely on the older standards than to  
somehow try to replace them.

There is a seperate issue, which is really on ARIA, about how browsers  
should behave when you have ARIA conflicting with other stuff e.g.  
longdesc and aria-describedBy and they point to different things. Should  
ARIA be trusted in all cases? Should it be determined seperately for  
different ARIA properties? Should we trust the old attributes (this has  
the benefit that backwards-compatibility comes up with the same results,  
which is probably quite valuable really).

cheers

Chaals

-- 
Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg lærer norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals   Try Opera 9.5: http://snapshot.opera.com
Received on Monday, 28 April 2008 12:25:45 GMT

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