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Techniques for WCAG 2.0 H45 longdesc: User agent support

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2013 06:42:00 -0500
Message-ID: <CAOavpveFp6GsrEBFik9je+6b=KYpd0mBk0n-Hngz=Dg1Pyo2mA@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-comments-wcag20@w3.org
Cc: Charles McCathieNevile <w3b@chaals.com>

1. Title of the document

Techniques for WCAG 2.0 H45 longdesc

2. Location within the document

"User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes"

3. Concern

User Agent support for longdesc varies, but overall support is
improving. The Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document should say that, as it
does for ARIA. H45 should provide a full listing of support. There is
now new and improved validator support and more widespread
implementation (e.g. in Chrome Vox, NVDA, Firefox). This will lead
authors to make fewer errors and users to experience longdesc.

4. Suggested change

Please state that:

User Agent support for longdesc varies, but overall support is
improving. A collection of tools that provide support for longdesc

And provide a full listing of support:


Opera, Firefox, Chromium, and Internet Explorer all support longdesc
DOM reflection.

* As of Mozilla 25 Firefox has native support via the image context menu.
Firefox has accessibility API support.
Support for prior versions is supplied via:
  * Longdesc Firefox Extension by Patrick H. Lauke, adds a "View Image
Longdesc" option to the image context menu that activates the link to
the long description.
  * Longdesk 0.2 FireFox Extension by Anthony Ricaud, adds a link to
the longdesc under images that provides one.

* It is anticipated that Chrome will be providing native support. "Now
that the spec has been published I think we can add it." - Dominic
Support for prior versions of Chrome is supplied via Longdesc plugin
by Chris Kennish, which "highlights and provides right-click access to
image long descriptions, where provided."

* iCab has native support of longdesc via a context-menu.

* Opera 1010b1 to Blink has native support of longdesc. Exposition of
the longdesc is exposed by a right click on the image for which the
longdesc has been defined.
Support for prior versions of Opera is supplied via:
  * TellMeMore Opera extension, which respects a web page's visual
design yet provides critical functionality. It will "Find things that
have more description available, and show them on demand. Where images
(or something else) have a longdesc attribute, the extension notifies
by changing its icon and title, and enables the user to see a list of
the descriptions available, in its popup. When the user selects an
item in the popup, a new window opens with the description in it."

* Internet Explorer (IE)
  * When used together with assistive technology such as Jaws, IE
makes longdesc accessible to the AT user.
  * Configuring Internet Explorer to Handle Longdesc - Adds a context
menu entry to extract the longdesc attribute value and have the page
navigate to its content for sighted users. by Sean Hayes.
  * Longdesc Linker for Internet Explorer 6 - Browser Helper Object
which adds a "Long Description" item to the context menu that IE uses
for images.

* Netscape 7.0 (rv:1.0.1 Gecko/20020823) supports the longdesc
attribute via the context menu.

* Home Page Reader has native support of longdesc and is still used in
Japan for longdesc, even though it stopped being maintained years ago.

* Long Description Favelet "announces the number of images with
longdesc attributes and provides links to the long description file in
each case." by James W. Thatcher. It works ubiquitously in Chrome,
FireFox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, and iCab.


The following assistive technology informs users that an image has a
long description, at which point the user has the option of reading
the description or skipping it.

* Chromevox began supporting longdesc in version 1.26. It is announced
and can be activated with Cvox + C > D

* NVDA will now announce the existence of the long description, and a
user can press NVDA+d to open it.

* JAWS Version 4.01 and up supports longdesc.

* Adaptive Multimedia Information System (AMIS)

* AnyDaisy FF Extension

* LookOUT in combination with WebbIE.

* Sense Reader Professional Edition v1.1.0.6 (KoreChromeVoxan)

* SuperNova/Hal

* Thunder in combination with WebbIE.

* Window-Eyes

* Home Page Reader has native support of longdesc and is still used in
Japan for longdesc.


The following authoring tools support the longdesc attribute.

* AChecker
* AD Gallery
* Alt Text Checker
* Amaya
* A-Prompt
* BlueGriffon
* CKEditor
* Connexions Markup Language (CNXML)
* Cute Editor
* Docbook Docbook XSL Documentation (html.longdesc)
* Docbook XSL Documentation (html.longdesc.link)
* Dreamweaver, Creative Suite
* Drupal 7 - Drupal 7 Release Date, January 5, 2011.
* easyALBUM
* elRTE
* Expression Studio
* Expression Web
* gp|Easy CMS
* iGraph-Lite
* Juicy Studio's Image Analyser
* jQuery Accessible Longdesc Plugin
* LongDesc Page Generator
* ObjectDescription
* Oxygen XML Editor
* RadEditor for ASP.NET AJAX
* Save As DAISY/MSWord Add-In
* simplepie
* SiteVision.se (CMS)
* TinyMCE
* Weblight
* WordPress longdesc Plugin Automatic longdesc to be added to WordPress
* Visual Studio and ASP.NET
* XStandard

4. Additional rationale for the comment

The Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document should treat ARIA and longdesc equitably.

ARIA Techniques for WCAG 2.0 is cast in a positive light: "User Agent
support for WAI-ARIA varies, but overall support for WAI-ARIA is

In contrast H45: Using longdesc is cast in a negative light:
"Voiceover 4.0, NVDA 2012, Orca 2.32.0, and Zoomtext 10.0 (and their
earlier versions) do not support the longdesc attribute. Versions of
JAWS earlier than JAWS 4.01 and versions of WindowEyes earlier than
WindowEyes 4.5 do not support this attribute, but later versions do."
There is no mention of longdesc improving i.e., NVDA, Chromevox,
Firefox, the many extensions.

Please correct this situation.

Best Regards,
Laura L. Carlson
Received on Monday, 15 July 2013 11:45:02 UTC

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