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

Re: aria-describedat

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2012 13:35:21 +0100
To: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Cc: Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>, Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, w3c-wai-pf@w3.org, public-html-a11y@w3.org, laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com, George Kerscher <kerscher@montana.com>, david.bolter@gmail.com, jbrewer@w3.org, faulkner.steve@gmail.com, mike@w3.org
Message-ID: <20120322133521165683.230ca6be@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis, Thu, 22 Mar 2012 06:52:15 +0000:
> On Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 6:02 AM, Leif Halvard Silli:

> Why is "role" so special?

Historical reasons: The PF did not create it. It was created as part of 
XHTML2 and thus lives in the XHTML namespace - and thus of course did 
not need any prefix in XHTML/HTML. But in SVG, they had to define it as 
a native attribute in order that authors should not need to do 
xhtml:role=''. But, from another angle, it also makes some sense that 
the one attribute that can affect what aria- prefixed attribute one is 
allowed to use, itself is not prefixed.

>> * It learns from the antipattern set by @longdesc and @summary:
>>  Unique names for seldom used/seen attributes is no good. Better
>>  with an often seen prefix for a range of related attributes.

> If we take the
> view that user agents should be building UI on top of ARIA (like this
> spec for @aria-describedat does), I don't think the ARIA attributes
> are especially "related" to each other.

Authors are higher priority than UA vendors, in our HTML design 

> Why don't we just add new common document and
> application semantics to HTML and recommend other markup languages
> reuse HTML features rather than reinventing the wheel?

It has its advantages that ARIA is *not* defined by the HTMLwg.

>> @aria-DESCRIBEDat, is not completely void of benefits:
>> * It indicates relationship to aria-DESCRIBEDby
> What relationship? The one where authors get utterly confused between
> the two? ;)

You are right: Those are two sides of the same coin.

>> * The 'AT' part has hyperlink connotations - @.
> Twitter? Email? If "hyperlink connotations" are good, then surely
> "url" or "href" have stronger connotations.

I think, of your proposals, then aria-describedATURL, made some sense. 
But then, why not just say aria-describedBYurl ? Then both likeness and 
difference should be obvious? What you think about that?

>> * Less technical than 'fooURL'
> How is that better? If it's better, how about "descriptionlink"?

I am not member of the ARIA task force ... But I could certainly live 
with aria-descrptionlink, if my arguments in favor of current name or 
aria-describedbyURL etc are found week.

>> and leads the thought towards the content that one points to
> I think that's an implicit aspect of any name that suggests a hyperlink…

Why not just @aria-href then?

>> and thus delegitimizes misuse.
> No, it encourages misuse since it does not make the data type clear.

We could then say the same thing about aria-label, aria-labelledby, 
aria-describedby and about other attributes too. Btw, the @usemap is 
probably the attribute that most often get a idref as content rather 
than a URL ... So, yes, it is important to help authors.
leif h silli
Received on Thursday, 22 March 2012 12:36:07 UTC

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