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RE: aria-describedat

From: Geoff Freed <geoff_freed@wgbh.org>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 23:40:18 +0000
To: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>, Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>
CC: david bolter <david.bolter@gmail.com>, Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>, Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>, Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>, Richard Schwerdtfeger <schwer@us.ibm.com>, "faulkner.steve@gmail.com" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, "jbrewer@w3.org" <jbrewer@w3.org>, George Kerscher <kerscher@montana.com>, "laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com" <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, "mike@w3.org" <mike@w3.org>, "public-html-a11y@w3.org" <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, "w3c-wai-pf@w3.org" <w3c-wai-pf@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Message-ID: <A3CD72FE7CF8DE4B953A034D1982200C069444@WSMBX1.wgbh.org>

From: John Foliot [john@foliot.ca]
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 5:36 PM
To: Silvia Pfeiffer
Cc: david bolter; Leif Halvard Silli; Charles McCathieNevile; Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis; Richard Schwerdtfeger; faulkner.steve@gmail.com; jbrewer@w3.org; George Kerscher; laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com; mike@w3.org; public-html-a11y@w3.org; w3c-wai-pf@w3.org; W3C WAI-XTECH
Subject: Re: aria-describedat

Quoting Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>:

>> Not MetaData, real, human-readable textual data that describes in more
>> detail what the *foo* is that it is attached to.
> Metadata = data about data.
> long description = a long description (i.e. data) about the element
> (i.e. data)

Hair-splitter <grin>. For many garden-variety web authors, metadata
has a "special" connotation of <meta name="keywords" content="try,
fool, search, engines, stuffing, hokum">, so I would ask we avoid
adding any additional confusion and just not refer to longer textual
descriptions as metadata.

>> Minor correction here: JAWS *has* introduced a new interaction for
>> @longdesc. When JAWS encounters the @longdesc attribute in an <img>, it
>> announces the @alt text and then states: "Press ALT plus Enter for Long
>> Description" - and then pauses waiting for the user to tab (continue) or hit
>> enter (explore).
> You mean: hit alt-enter?

Alt+Enter (simultaneously).

What's really interesting to me is that in Firefox, you only have to press Enter even though JAWS announces "press Alt+Enter".

> In any case: this is an interaction that the screenreader creates and
> not one that the browser creates.

Exactly, which is the key difference between JAWS and NVDA w.r.t.
@longdesc: NVDA does not want to be in the position of defining a
user-interaction, but rather map to a pre-defined interaction 'native'
to the browser.

> That's the key difference.
> I guess, we could ask if browsers would agree to using alt-enter as
> the recommended interaction for the new attribute.

I think that *might* be one of a few possible strategies, but I would
caution recommending a single solution, and rather allow for
user-agents to develop appropriate contextual strategies. 

I'd go so far as to say it might be a waste of time to try to convince user agents (that is, screen readers and/or browsers) to unify here.  Screen readers already use wildly different key combinations (consider the key-mapping differences between VoiceOver and any other screen reader, for example).  I seriously doubt if alignment is in the future, nor would I push for it.  Getting support and operability for long descriptions from both user agents is more the goal, I think.

On the
Desktop, I think the contextual menu is a working and a workable
solution for many sighted users (Mouse right-click, or for keyboard
users Shift+F10 >> Tab to "longdescy thing" >> Enter), and/but a
screen reader could map that interaction pattern to a custom keyboard
control (such as Alt+Enter). I think that the mobile experience might,
by necessity be very different however, as the traditional
mouse/keyboard affordances simply are not there.

It would be extremely useful non-the-less if all browsers followed a
general interaction pattern for inter-op benefits.  I note as well
that this does not address the discoverability issue, only the
interaction issue.

Received on Thursday, 29 March 2012 23:41:02 UTC

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