W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html-a11y@w3.org > March 2012

Re: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2012 14:53:27 -0400
Message-ID: <20120312145327.171630nydy5aeskn@wats.ca>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Cc: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>, Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Quoting Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>:

> On Wed, 07 Mar 2012 20:04:16 +0100, Leif Halvard Silli  
> <xn--mlform-iua@målform.no> wrote:
>> So, the process is the reason we can't say 'use @aria-describedat' ...
> No. The problem is that some important projects are not implementing  
> the functionality described.
> There are reasons for using longdesc as is: it's relatively  
> well-known, it's relatively well described. There are reasons for  
> preferring something that does the same with a different name:  
> people get to say they were right about longdesc being broken as  
> shown because we move to the new version, longdesc as currently  
> specced in HTML4 doesn't apply as generally as required.
> The specification can be done in a tiny amount of time if that is  
> needed. But without implementor commitment, it just isn't needed  
> very urgently. Understanding the basics can be done just as well by  
> implementing longdesc...

Here, here.

You can call *it* whatever you want (including "Duck Soup") but  
without implementation we are stuck - dead in the water.  Today we  
have some implementation of @longdesc support. It's not universal,  
it's not ideal, and it does not serve all users the way it should. But  
it is boots-on-the-ground none-the-less, which is significantly more  
useful then theorizing what if, what could be, and what should be.  
Frankly, this entire thread has been nothing more than a time-sink  
rehashing the same old same-old, allowing those who want to dump  
@longdesc the opportunity (once again) to suggest "...those a11y folks  
don't even know what they want" - which is pretty far from the real  
truth, but continued hand-wringing and teeth gnashing over this is  
truly not helping anything. Let @longdesc be retained in HTML5 and  
then we can look to improve upon it in a measured and reasonable  

Let's be crystal clear: without further support from the tool vendors  
(and I sidestep the fact that the browsers are a significant, but not  
exclusive member of that group) @longdesc will languish under-used,  
cheating users from functionality they require. But rushing to dump it  
and insert something "new" with even less support is stupid, and I  
will go so far as to suggest that anyone who fails to understand  
*THAT* also deserves the same title.

> If aria-describedat will get implemented, that is pretty much trumps  
> for me. But if an ongoing discussion about it is an excuse to do  
> nothing for a few extra weeks, I'd rather talk about something more  
> productive.


> frustrated


Received on Monday, 12 March 2012 18:53:54 UTC

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