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Re: Moving longdesc forward

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Wed, 4 May 2011 18:25:59 +0200
To: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Cc: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20110504182559745938.88151e00@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Leif Halvard Silli, Wed, 4 May 2011 17:48:47 +0200:
> Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis, Wed, 4 May 2011 15:52:37 +0100:
>> On Wed, May 4, 2011 at 2:37 PM, Leif Halvard Silli:
>    ...
>>> http://www.w3.org/mid/20110504152204634608.a973ed8c@xn--mlform-iua.no
>> Why we should constrain @longdesc to resources that are HTML/XML markup
>> with an HTML root element?
> To say that users plus user agents are likely to expect HTML ( = 
> content with <html> as root element) and that they may not be able to 
> properly/effectively handle other formats (which may require plug-ins, 
> external programs etc), is just that - a warning and a recommendation - 
> and not a constraint.

If authors want to send plain text then they should instead use ARIA. 
For example, this works fine in VoiceOver:

<img alt=Blah src=image aria-labelledby="script">
<script type="text/plain" id="script">Lorem Ipsum.</script>

This is much better than a separate plain/text docuemnt, as the 
encoding is then taken care of. A text/plain document has no encoding 
information. And as UAs default to Windows-1252, the lack of encoding 
info in plain/text doesn't work well on the World Wide Web. Of course, 
authors can configure their Web servers to send plain text in the right 

Really, it disappoints me very much if we cannot agree that @longesc 
should point to HTML documents. Then we are promoting an unclear 
picture of what  @longdesc is for.
Leif H Silli
Received on Wednesday, 4 May 2011 16:26:28 UTC

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