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Re: Notice of impending Formal Objection to Issue 30 Decision (@longdesc)

From: Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2010 16:12:23 -0400
To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Cc: HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20100812201223.GE2122@sonata.rednote.net>
David Singer writes:
> On Aug 12, 2010, at 10:10 , Sam Ruby wrote:
> > 
> > In the short term, a better use of those energies would be towards identifying new information (I hear that there is some from Oracle?) or on a Formal Objection.
> > 
> I have to wonder whether our energies would not be better spent, not in attempting to maintain the historical status of longdesc, but in providing mechanisms that actually materially improve accessibility for those that need it (given that we all seem to recognize that longdesc has almost no useful adoption and use)?


This is simply incorrect.

We are not "all" in any such agreement.

The WAI Consensus Recommendations on alternative text lists two
important requirements:

1.)	A mechanism to provide short textual equivalents in line.
2.)	A mechanism to provide longer alternative textual descriptions.

We now find ourselves without a mechanism to do #2, unless we load up
the page with the longer text. In other words, reference to an off-page
description is a key requirement for proper functioning of the #2
mechanism. With longdesc gone, so is our ability to do that.

Is it important. PF, WAI, we have always said no less. It's important.

Our TF recommendation to the WG asked for longdesc to be maintained
until ARIA 2.0 could produce a better mechanism to replace it. I think
we were very clear:

Here's one use case, or should I say instance, that came up on
yesterday's PF call:

Oracle is using longdesc consistently in its documentation anywhere
there's a screenshot.

I submit that's neither minor nor incidental use. Pressed to the wall,
I'm quite confident we'll find more examples just like that--because the
mechanism of longdesc fills a need for which we haven't a better
alternative at this time.


have never claimedt couldn't be improved on. In fact our TF
recommendation to the WG committed to produce a better alternative text
mechanism in ARIA 2.0:
> But maybe this is just me as an engineer thinking :-(
> David Singer
> Multimedia and Software Standards, Apple Inc.


Janina Sajka,	Phone:	+1.443.300.2200

Chair, Open Accessibility	janina@a11y.org	
Linux Foundation		http://a11y.org

Chair, Protocols & Formats
Web Accessibility Initiative	http://www.w3.org/wai/pf
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Received on Thursday, 12 August 2010 20:12:56 UTC

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