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RE: Call for consensus on longdesc change proposal

From: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Date: Tue, 17 May 2011 17:32:52 -0700 (PDT)
To: "'Cynthia Shelly'" <cyns@microsoft.com>, "'Laura Carlson'" <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Cc: "'Judy Brewer'" <jbrewer@w3.org>, <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, "'Gez Lemon'" <gez.lemon@gmail.com>
Message-ID: <017b01cc14f3$1f8d63b0$5ea82b10$@edu>
Cynthia Shelly wrote:
> However, I cannot support consensus on a proposal that includes text
> stating that developers will not use ARIA, text which appears to be
> based on the opinion of one person.  It is cutting off our nose to
> spite our face.

Hi Cynthia,

I don't see it this way.  I am just now getting back to my office, after 
spending some time this afternoon with two developers here on campus, where 
we looked at (funny enough) forms and JS alert dialogs. I went over the 
requirements here that ARIA solves, to which I received the question: "Do we 
really have to do that every time? This is more code to learn and add..."

So it is not just one person's opinion, it is the experience of many 
educators and accessibility advocates who deal (frankly) with a class of 
HTML developer that operates at a level significantly lower than the 
engineers at Microsoft. Besides, the statement is not that they *won't* use 
ARIA, simply that it is increasingly difficult to get low-level, mainstream 
developers to learn yet another language: the higher we set the bar, the 
fewer it is that cross over. Given that this comment was fist provided by 
Cliff Tyllick, echoed by Laura, myself and Denis Boudreau today I'd say we 
have some substance here: if more members of the WG came forth with similar 
feedback would it help you feel more comfortable with this statement?

@longdesc has been with us since 1999 - passing a new "conformance rule" 
that seeks to deny or eradicate its existence is just wrong: this is simply 
politics on behalf of a bunch of engineers who think they know better - this 
has been an ongoing battle for 4 years plus now, as they don't want to "harm 
accessibility" (how paternalistically good of them).

@longdesc fulfills a need, a need that may indeed be fulfilled by other 
means and technologies in the future, but it works today, is supported today 
and is being used today. Until such time as aria-describedat (or perhaps 
aria-longdescription) is specc'ed out, used and supported by browsers, AT, 
and authoring tools we need something to fill the gap. If @longdesc is such 
a horrid solution, allow it to die out on its own; if the aria-(solution) is 
superior it will win out based upon that fact, not on gerrymandering by the 
WHAT WG gang.

Received on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 00:33:21 UTC

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