Re: Call for consensus on longdesc change proposal

------- Original message -------
> From: Laura Carlson <>
> To:
> Cc:,,
> Sent: 17/5/'11,  22:57
> 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

Ah yeah, now I remember. Being a link, it is optional whether the user 
opens it, whereas current AT just start to read the @aria-describedby 
resource without waiting for the user's blessing.

> 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
> --
> Laura L. Carlson
> [1] 
> esc&direction=prev&oldid=9086
> 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 
>> (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 21:52:08 UTC