Re: Call for consensus on longdesc change proposal

Hi Cynthia,

> On the specific proposal, I have 3 questions:

It is a shame that you didn't ask these questions earlier as this
verbiage has been in the Change Proposal since January 31 [1]. I
really wish you had participated in the earlier discussions.

The first two questions:

"I don't think aria-describedby is a suitable replacement. If I
understand correctly, aria-describedby will annotate text in the
target id referenced by the idref, meaning that AT users won't be able
to control how they interact with the long description. As, by
definition, this is going to be long, it doesn't seem a good solution.
Something that moves the user's reading cursor to the longer
description (either on the same page or in a different page) where the
user can control how they read the long description would be a better
solution." - Gez Lemon

As for the last question, in addition to what Cliff said, I experience
that myself with developers. It is sad but true.

Best Regards,

Laura L. Carlson


On 5/17/11, Cynthia Shelly <> wrote:
> Sorry I couldn't make the call.  As I've said before, I can live with either
> decision on longdesc, as I think we can have a path forward with ARIA
> describedby and describedat.
> On the specific proposal, I have 3 questions:
> 1)
> I don't really understand this:
> "aria-describedby will annotate text in the target id referenced by the
> idref. This means assistive technology users would not be able to control
> how they interact with the long description (as they can with longdesc). It
> is read aloud without any user intervention, forcing the longer description
> on the user whether they want it or not."
> What is meant by annotate?  Why does this make it impossible for AT
> developers to create UI for their users that allows them to control how they
> interact with aria-describedby?  Note that I'm not talking about current AT
> behavior.  If this argument is about current AT behavior, then it is a very
> weak argument, as AT can be changed just like any other software.  If the
> argument is about it being impossible to create this UI, then the reason for
> that needs to be called out more explicitly.
> 2) "As, by definition, a long description is in fact long, aria-describedby
> is not good solution for a longdesc."
> Because....?
> 3) "It is unlikely that many content creators or developers will learn ARIA
> (something not native HTML). They already feel like they've learned far more
> than they should have to know under their job description. And in many
> cases, their supervisors agree. (reference Cliff Tyllick)"
> Do you really want to go there?  The PF believes pretty strongly in the
> value of ARIA.   While I'm neutral on longdesc, I would feel very
> uncomfortable supporting a document with this statement in it.  I suspect
> there are other members of the TF that would agree.  It's also an appeal to
> authority (one view), or what some guy on a blog thinks (another view),
> neither of which carries much weight in this WG.  It seems unlikely to help
> your case, and likely to harm other work.
> >From a developer standpoint, aria-describedby and longdesc are the same.
> They are both extra attributes you have to add.  They're the same amount of
> work.  A WYSWYG tool that supports one can be modified to support the other.
>  I can even think of ways to do it that would be transparent to the user.
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [] On Behalf Of Judy Brewer
> Sent: Saturday, May 14, 2011 9:55 AM
> To:
> Subject: Call for consensus on longdesc change proposal
> Dear HTML A11Y TF:
> Please read the longdesc change proposal, which Laura has agreed is now
> stable:
> A lot of work has been done on this; thanks to Laura and others that have
> contributed.
> We will discuss consensus on this in the Text Alternatives Sub-Group call on
> Monday 16 May.
> Thanks,
> - Judy
> --
> Judy Brewer    +1.617.258.9741
> Director, Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), World Wide Web Consortium
> (W3C) MIT/CSAIL Building 32-G526
> 32 Vassar Street
> Cambridge, MA,  02139,  USA

Laura L. Carlson

Received on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 20:57:55 UTC