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Re: ISSUE 30 @longdesc use cases

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2010 08:35:46 -0500
Message-ID: <AANLkTimwe4u51TT+brqKPNAwe3=7=vQzJFmZ03AaRbWi@mail.gmail.com>
To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Cc: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, Barry McMullin <barry.mcmullin@dcu.ie>
Hi David,

> There is nothing wrong with a page that says "A detailed description
> of this can be found _here_.", and indeed this will, in fact, benefit
> a number of users other than those using screen readers (users new to
> the subject, in some cases, for example).

Adding longdesc text in page or a link to a page would add visual
clutter for the sighted. As an author, visual designer, and artist
that is an important consideration to me.

For sighted users, the consequences of adding a redundant visual text
description is information overload which wastes time and taxes
attention at the content's peril. Removing such visual clutter
increases  understanding and saves time (actual time-on-task). This is
where visual design plays an increasingly important role for sighted
users. A chart or graph can communicate concepts, condense a larger
body of information and convey that information  quickly. It is what
visual design and data visualization is about. Adding redundant visual
links or longdesc text in page would be counterproductive and slow
sighted users down.

A longdesc's aim is to be a substitute for such the data
visualizations to the blind. It solves a problem.

However, user agents should (as Opera currently does) natively possess
the option to reveal the presence of longdesc to all users. This
provides a practical method for developers who want a tool to check
longdesc and keep it up to date. It also gives everyone access to
longdesc content if they actually are curious.

Bugs had been filed to improve longdesc. For instance, "Native user
agent support for exposing longdesc to all users".
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=10019

All of the longdesc bugs now been marked WONTFIX or INVALID.

Obsoleting longdesc and telling authors and designers to use visible
text links or the full text description in page isn't the answer here.
So I'll continue using HTML 4 whenever I need longdesc and I'll
continue teaching web design students HTML4 whenever longdesc is
needed, because HTML5 currently doesn't provide that functionality in
a valid/conforming feature.

Best Regards,
Laura

--
Laura L. Carlson


On 8/23/10, David Singer <singer@apple.com> wrote:
> OK, I hesitate to ask, point this out.  It is perhaps a minor point.
>
> There is an assumption/assertion here that a long description is hugely
> relevant but only through accessibility provisions.  But there may easily be
> puzzled users who do not have vision issues.  There is nothing wrong with a
> page that says "A detailed description of this can be found _here_.", and
> indeed this will, in fact, benefit a number of users other than those using
> screen readers (users new to the subject, in some cases, for example).  Not
> using the attribute does not preclude you from building informatively
> constructed web sites, does it? I don't find "A detailed description of this
> can be found _here_." 'traumatic' or 'confusing', myself, in general.
>
> On Aug 23, 2010, at 14:02 , Joshue O Connor wrote:
>
>> To explain - I will quote Barry directly from the CFIT website.
>>
>> "Double-negative" because longdesc is not being used here — but I would
>> have liked to use it, and its use would have been absolutely
>> appropriate! It's just that weak user-agent support meant that using it
>> would potentially have left the long description actually unavailable to
>> people who might benefit from it. So instead, I decided to compromise
>> (somewhat) the experience of people who already could perceive the
>> graphical image perfectly well, and exposed the long description for all
>> users (even though it is redundant for the majority). This decision
>> then, logically, had the further effect of requiring an explanation —
>> for those majority users — of what a long description is and why — which
>> explanation, in turn, is redundant for those users who would normally
>> actually benefit from a long description!
>>
>> I humbly suggest that such a convoluted (nay, "traumatic"!) design
>> decision — genuinely existing "in the wild" — should count as legitimate
>> evidence of the use-case-need for longdesc!?" [3]
>>
>
> David Singer
> Multimedia and Software Standards, Apple Inc.
>
>


-- 
Laura L. Carlson
Received on Monday, 23 August 2010 13:36:20 GMT

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