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

Re: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2012 18:44:31 +0100
To: Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>
Cc: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>, Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20120313184431745941.6e83a619@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Janina Sajka, Tue, 13 Mar 2012 11:51:17 -0400:
> Leif Halvard Silli writes:
>> Apart from ARIA 1.0, here are some other projects which have failed to 
>> include @longdesc in the product:
> This is not factual.
> The failure is not ARIA's but HTML's.

What I say is not entirely fact-less. HTMLwg bears responsibility. But 
PF/ARIA bears indirect responsibility too. I have said bits of this 
before, but here you get it all:

ARIA defines where @title and @alt fits in in ARIA: In the accessible 
name. But ARIA does not explain where the longdesc link - or if you 
wish: an image with a longdesc - fits in.

An image with longdesc indicates 'complex data image'. Hence, it seems 
logical with an early announcement about the presence the longdesc.

However, while, ARIA expects AT to say 'image' if the element has 
role=img, and expects the accessible name to be presented as the 
content of the image, it  does not explain when and where the mere 
presence of a longdesc should be conveyed to the user. ARIA is silent. 
And makes no implicit expectations.

JAWS, for instance, announces 'Link to long description.' *after* the - 
possibly long - alternative text has been read. But perhaps the user 
should have been told in advance, before the alt text presentation 
started, so that he/she could have immediately switched to the long 
description instead of getting a surprise - that causes documented 
irritation [Joshue's infamous user experience video] - in the user?

A result of the silence, is that the developers behind NVDA, which - I 
gather - eat their own dog food, question the use of implementing 
@longdesc. And another big player, VoiceOver, that seems just as 
reluctant. ChromeVox ain't any better. And that what is perceived as 
primary consumers of longdesc do not support for their users, is not a 
good signal.

Even when we look at the guides for how to use ARIA, then - yes - you 
mention  longdesc. But you don't describe how to use it. Instead you 
describe how to use aria-describedby for the purpose that @longdesc is 
meant for. [All this is mentioned in the my reply to your buttressing 
letter: <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/wai-xtech/2012Feb/0049>]

To me as a 'standards consumer', and as one who has 'fought' for 
longdesc, this does not at all create the impression that you have 
counted on @longdesc since 2004. Hence, I continue to conclude that 
ARIA 1.0 has not integrated @longdesc into its own *thinking*. It is 
fair enough that you did not create e.g. aria-describedAT yet. But it 
is a bug in ARIA 1.0 that you did not integrate longdesc in the same 
way that you integrated @title and @alt.
leif halvard silli
Received on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 17:45:15 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 19:56:05 UTC