Re: dropping longdesc attribute

Evening all,

>> Anyway, what rationale for dropping longdesc?
> IIRC, the reason for not including it was because very few authors  
> ever use it and, when it is used, it's not used properly.

OMG, that argument again. Who cares if it's useful. Quickly, let's  
trash h1 to h6 also - and let's not forget blockquote while we're at it.

Longdesc are essential for screen readers to provide long  
descriptions for graphics that otherwise could not be described  
because the nature of their content is just too complicated for a  
simple alt attribute. This is a crucial feature for the benefit of  
visually impaired users working with screen readers. Longdesc  
provides the ONLY mean available to describe, in a non-obtrusive way,  
the nature of an image in an external file while remaining invisible  
to typical, unimpaired users and user agents. Screen readers are  
finally getting it's implementation right and we're dropping it?

Is there a single accessibility feature in HTML that will survive  
this group? Why is the left hand (html-wg) so bluntly ignoring what  
the right one (wai-wg) does?

> More research on the issue is welcome.  In particular, evidence of  
> significant real world usage that provides a practical benefit to  
> users would be good.

And why should we bother? There has been a lot of efforts made  
previously by John (Folliot) and others in order to save summary and  
headers in tables. Still, the draft hasn't backed out one bit on the  
subject. If that didn't give anything, what will? Lachlan, why  
wouldn't you, for a change (as John had so eloquently asked  
previously), provide evidence that this attribute is useless? Those  
of us who work with screen reader users on a regular basis know that  
this attribute is extremely relevant when it is used properly. If  
authors are using it all wrong, then let's educate them instead of  
slashing into features that significantly contribute to the inclusion  
of disabled people on the web.

It's already hard enough for the blind. We don't need to make it even  
more complicated for them simply because we're too caught up in our  
own little things to grasp such a simple concept.


Denis Boudreau,

WebConforme / AccessibilitéWeb
1751 rue Richardson, bureau 3.501
Montréal (Qc), Canada  H3K 1G6

Téléphone : +1 514.448.2650
Télécopieur : +1 514.667.2216

Received on Saturday, 23 June 2007 03:04:12 UTC