RE: Call for consensus on longdesc change proposal

We've talked about adding an aria attribute called aria-describedat that would take a URL, and work like longdesc.  There is no objection to this in the ARIA TF.  It also has the advantage of being available in other markup languages (like SVG).  Could people live with this instead?  It seems like a path that allows us to spend our time on solutions rather than procedure.

-----Original Message-----
From: Gez Lemon [] 
Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 4:16 PM
To: Silvia Pfeiffer
Cc: Denis Boudreau; Laura Carlson; Cynthia Shelly; Judy Brewer;
Subject: Re: Call for consensus on longdesc change proposal

Hi silvia,

> What makes you think that would be better with the @longdesc 
> attribute? I am concerned that if the argument is "we need longdesc 
> because aria attributes are not in use" the logical next reaction is - 
> let's remove aria attributes then.
> I'm a developer and I really don't care what the attribute is called 
> as long as it is clear what its purpose is. But I don't see a logical 
> conclusion from "aria attributes have failed" to "let's introduce some 
> other attributes that nobody is using yet to take their place".
> I agree with Cynthia that that is a very weak argument and likely will 
> just result in a very bad discussion for a11y. Laziness is an argument 
> against a11y, not an argument for @longdesc.

This isn't so much about WAI-ARIA failing. I completely support WAI_ARIA, and think it's a brilliant specification. The fact is there is no equivalent of longdesc in WAI-ARIA to provide a long description. The longdesc attribute links to a semantically rich reference, so users can control how they interact with the content.
The closest thing in WAI-ARIA to longdesc is the aria-describedby attribute, which is mapped to an accessibility API as a string of text.

So for a graph, the user could have a data table they could investigate column-by-column, row-by-row (and they can pause at any stage, and re-investigate where they are in the content), rather than a stream of text that they have no way of controlling how it is delivered to them.



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Received on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 23:44:52 UTC