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Re: WG Decision: Request transition of Image Description to Candidate Recommendation

From: Matthew Turvey <mcturvey@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2014 14:02:51 +0100
Message-ID: <CAFp5+Ar2nyYpRN+sv-CZiiBTY9Z5zHpCp9tCkwZ6gVWyKQwk7w@mail.gmail.com>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Cc: "public-html-admin@w3.org" <public-html-admin@w3.org>
On 2 August 2014 15:26, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net> wrote:

> "The strongest argument against inclusion was the lack of use cases that
> *clearly and directly* support this specific feature of the language"

[emphasis added]

> We have use cases.

>From http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2012Feb/0058.html :

> - The previous decision was not based on the idea that longdesc could not possibly be used to address any use case. Rather, the basis that other features of the language could sufficiently address the use cases proposed for longdesc.

Use cases are just a technique to identify user requirements, to
ensure users *actual* requirements are met, and to avoid wasting time
on requirements users do not need or that are already satisfied in
other ways. The requirements identified in these use cases can all be
satisfied with a normal link. None of the scenarios *clearly and
directly* require this specific feature.

> So, consistent with the two prior decisions, this again comes down to use
> cases.  On one hand, we have a set of documented use cases and a specified
> attribute that meets those use cases.  On the other hand, we have a web
> page[2] that lists a set of purported replacements for longdesc.

We also have a Note, in the process of being published by this working
group, which demonstrates how to provide accessible image descriptions
without using longdesc:


> Of those, a standard link inside a figure caption does not address the
> stated use cases (example: No forced visual encumbrance), nor is there a
> rationale provided for challenging these use cases.

For an example of a linked image description without a "forced visual
encumbrance" see:


> Conclusion: given that the objection does not specifically address or
> challenge the use cases, the HTML WG chairs support the TF decision.  If Ted
> or anybody else wants the chairs to revisit this, they will need to
> specifically address the provided User and Authoring Requirements as well
> Use Cases provided.

The use cases you cited have already been specifically addressed here:


> Alternatively, if Ted or anybody else wishes to raise a Formal Objection
> with or without addressing the requirements and use cases, they are welcome
> to do so at this time.  Be aware that the meeting with the Director on this
> subject is likely to occur early this week, most likely on Tuesday
> afternoon.

Presenting longdesc as a solution required for these use cases, when
this group is about to publish a Note showing how to satisfy these use
cases without longdesc, would be a suboptimal course of action, in my

Honesty is probably the best policy: just tell the Director the HTMLWG
under your leadership has wasted 7 years, time that could have been
spent on moving accessibility forward, proving conclusively we don't
need longdesc and now we want to publish a spec for it. And then we're
going to officially obsolete it!

Received on Sunday, 3 August 2014 13:03:18 UTC

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