W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > April 2011

Re: longdesc - beside the box

From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2011 13:55:58 +0100
Message-ID: <BANLkTik+Tqr_d+kKwcMtnvQugDyCJ8u2nw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Cc: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
On Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 12:22 PM, Leif Halvard Silli
<xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no> wrote:
> Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis, Tue, 26 Apr 2011 10:16:32 +0100:
>> On Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 2:57 AM, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>>> iCab does show a "default visual encumbrance" for images with
>>> @longdesc.
>> The user has to take a special action (hovering over the image) to
>> display the encumbrance (a cursor change), so it's not "default".
> That's the same for many links: until you hover above them, you don't
> see it is a link.

In the classic presentation, you can tell they're links without hovering over
them because their text is blue/purple and underlined or, if they're images,
they have a blue/purple border.

Of course, you can (and people do) design stylesheets that obfuscate
hyperlinks in various ways. This is widely recognized as undesirable:




@longdesc is hidden metadata by design; hyperlinks and most aspects of
microformats are visible data by design. That you can write stylesheets
that obfuscate visible data does not undermine the principle that showing
data should be preferred as it makes error discovery more likely.
Instead, it merely shows that the hidden metadata antipattern can be
implemented at the level of skinning as well as semantic markup.

>> If we accepted iCab's behavior as a "default visual encumbrance",
>> we'd need to reject all Laura's examples of long descriptions with
>> "No Forced Visual Encumbrance or Default Visual Indicator".
>> http://www.d.umn.edu/~lcarlson/research/ld.html#noclutter
> Sorry, but I don't quite follow. I'd say iCab's behaviour is
> compatible with what she writes.

Interpreting iCab's behavior as a default visual encumbrance is not
compatible, because then her examples of webpages without a default
visual encumbrance would in fact be examples of webpages *with* a default
visual encumbrance (in iCab).

As I don't interpret iCab's behavior as a default visual encumbrance, I
find it compatible with Laura's examples.

> I'll also say that, when looking at the longdesc bug(s) in Mozilla, it
> seemed exactly the 'context-menu' cursor issue caused a lot of fuzz:
> https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=258960
> http://html4all.org/pipermail/list_html4all.org/2011-April/001109.html
> (FWIW: may be it is best to not use the 'context-menu' cursor but
> rather, as iCab does, use a similar 'there is an linked document for
> this item' cursor..)

I don't think the precise hover styling makes much difference to whether
@longdesc is visible data or hidden metadata.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Received on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 12:56:26 UTC

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