False aria-describedby expectations in ARIA Authoring Practices (longdesc)

Michael and Joseph, 

Where do we file bugs against your 'WAI-ARIA 1.0 Authoring Practices' 
editors draft? 

There is a much erroneous and misleading description of the 
possibilities of aria-describedby is in the draft. The draft states 
that it is possible to "follow" what you refer to as an 
aria-describedby "arc" from an img element to an anchor element - et 
cetera: [1]

]] ... different from the HTML longdesc attribute ... But if you wish 
to reference an external resource with aria-describedby, you can 
reference a link that in turn references the external resource. This 
requires the user to follow two steps, first following the 
aria-describedby arc, then following the link, but does address the use 
case. [[

However, this is an incorrect description of the facts: 
aria-describedby doesn't allow you to "follow" the aria-describedby as 
if it was a link. Besides that it is technically wrong, the example you 
show leads to repetition for the user: first the textual content of 
that anchor element is read to the user when he/she reads the img 
element (without being told that it is a link nor be given opportunity 
to link to it). And when the screenreader user reaches that link, 
he/she gets to listen to the same link text again.

Your claims in the draft is already being repeated in the wild. [2] 
Which seems entirely useless: In the HTMLwg, we've established (for the 
last time) one month before your last edition of the draft that 
aria-describedby does not have any such functionality. (I provide two 
of several possible links. [3][4]) The only thing that happens if one 
points aria-describedby to an anchor element is that the user is served 
the textual content of that link, without being whether taken to that 
link or being told that he/she listens to the text of the link.

Please remove those false claims ASAP.

[1] http://www.w3.org/WAI/PF/aria-practices/#Descriptions_external
[2] http://rebuildingtheweb.com/en/longdesc-replacement/#c20110420054615
[3] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=12243
[4] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-a11y/2011Mar/0166
leif halvard silli

Received on Friday, 22 April 2011 02:26:57 UTC