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Re: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2012 20:04:16 +0100
To: Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>
Cc: Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20120307200416016687.b7b18e05@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Janina Sajka, Wed, 7 Mar 2012 16:47:51 +0000:
> Leif Halvard Silli writes:

>> Question: Is there a chance that "we could do" @aria-describedat *now*? 
>> I am convinced that the chances for a amicable solution would increase 
>> greatly if one could move from talk to action with regard to 
>> @aria-describedat.
> 
> You're asking the core question, imho. I wish we could simply say "yes"
> and be done with it, 

> Unfortunately, ARIA-DescribedAt doesn't exist anywhere except on our "To
> Do" list.

So, the process is the reason we can't say 'use @aria-describedat' ...

I can understand that vendors are not so keen on implementing something 
that is meant as a temporary solution, only.

May be we should simply recommend authors to, when @longdesc is needed, 
use HTML4? After all, there exists a DTD for HTML4 with ARIA support ...

  ...
> That leaves only longdesc on the table. It exists today, it's
> implemented and used today. It should be in the spec today.
> 
> The HTML Chairs simply got it wrong in their Issue-30 decision back in
> August 2010 when they claimed longdesc wasn't needed because:
> 
> "alternatives exists (explicit links, aria-describedby, figure 
> captions) ..."
> 
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Aug/att-0112/issue-30-decision.html
> 
> As we've since discovered in much discussion, Describedby wasn't an
> workable option then, and it isn't one now. Neither are Fig-Caption or
> direct links workable options today--or then.

I agree. But even if we get @longdesc, it still - when it works - only 
works on the <img> element. 

>>> agreement in room: longdesc and describedat are preferable to this

> They can't pick up Describedat because, it doesn't exist, not in our
> spec, not in browsers, not anywhere except in our intentions. Someday it
> will exist. Until then the longdesc attribute meets the current need and
> should simply be retained. That it isn't is a slap in the face to
> accessibility, imho.

A problem with @longdesc is the the very varying degree of support: It 
has no room within ARIA [*], only some screenreader support it and 
extremely few Web browsers UAs are running with @longdesc support 
enabled. 

[*] ARIA: Despite that @aria-describeAT was not included, why doesn't 
ARIA 1.0 include @longdesc its Accessible Name Calculation algorithm? 
After all, in a AT such as JAWS, the longdesc is presented to the user? 
Or how would you describe the text that Jaws announces - 'Link to long 
description' - if not as part of the accessible name?
-- 
Leif Halvard Silli
Received on Wednesday, 7 March 2012 19:05:00 UTC

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