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Re: ISSUE-30 longdesc - Chairs Solicit Alternate Proposals or Counter-Proposals

From: Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2011 13:28:00 -0400
To: John Foliot <jfoliot@stanford.edu>
Cc: "'Matthew Turvey'" <mcturvey@gmail.com>, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <20110617172800.GD2693@sonata.rednote.net>
John Foliot writes:
> Matthew Turvey wrote:
> > 
> > Since Orca and VoiceOver do not currently implement support for
> > londesc, *by default* longdesc is inaccessible on the Mac and Linux
> > platforms.
> This is patently false:

Indeed it is false. I suspect Matt's argument hinges on the word
"default." Because the end to end solution doesn't come with the
computer when you bring it home from the store, longdesc isn't
accessible, "by default." This quaint logic would seem to invalidate
everything humans use from hearing aids, to our university educations,
to our very clothes. After all, we don't come out of mothers wombs with
such things, "by default."

And, it would seem to invalidate Windows access to longdesc. After all,
the Windows computer from the store doesn't come with HAWS, or
Window-Eyes, or NVDA, or Zoom-Text.

However, I tsuspect the real point of Matt's quaint argument about
"default," is the specious argument that, if one is to rely on an
add-on, it may as well be the ARIA add-on. As though such add-ons were
as prevalent as JAWS, Window-Eyes, NVDA, and Firefox plugins are
prevalent for longdesc! Oh, I don't doubt we'll have such things in the
future, but we don't have them know. Chaas is correct, imho, we're
talking 5-10 years.

Which brings me to a complaint I just need to get off my chest. Where,
oh where are all these ARIA champions when the real work of integrating ARIA into
real solutions that real people can use to solve real problems is being
done? They are so eager to champion change proposals for HTML 5, but
they're MIA in the real work of mapping ARIA into HTML 5 and the real work of
developing appropriate guidance for user agents on how to support ARIA
in browsers. They want the solutions, but seem disinterested in creating

Despite the joint HTML & PF task force on user agent implementation:


it's been only the usual PF suspects doing the work to create real
solutions. Pardon me if I find it hard to hold any respect for such
attitudes and behaviors. And, pardon me if I have little respect for
their attendant claims of knowledge of the suitability of ARIA for this
particular purpose. Yes, I'm aware we don't appeal to authority in the
HTML-WG. But, it seems to me in this instance, we need to admit both lack of
subject competence and poor reasoning.


> Macintosh (OSX)
> 	iCab = native access
> 	Opera for Mac = native access
> 		Opera for Mac + TellMeMore extension = native access +
> visible indicator in the user chrome
> 	Firefox for Mac + Longdesc Plugin = access
> Linux
> 	Opera for Linux = native access
> 		Opera for Linux + TellMeMore extension = native access +
> visible indicator in the user chrome
> 	Firefox for Linux + Longdesc Plugin = access
> (Not to mention that Janina has already confirmed that she uses [Firefox +
> plugin + ORCA] to access @longdesc content routinely - or are you
> suggesting that she is fibbing?)
> VoiceOver is a system level application/tool and not a platform.
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VoiceOver) If you are concerned that
> VoiceOver does not support @longdesc, I urge you to file a bug at Apple:
> http://developer.apple.com/bugreporter/ 
> ORCA is a software application (Screen Reader) that runs on the Linux
> platform. (http://projects.gnome.org/orca/) If you are concerned that ORCA
> does not support @longdesc, I urge you to file a bug at the GNOME
> Bugzilla: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/    
> The fact that you are not differentiating between applications and
> operating systems here calls into question your understanding of the
> issue, and the problems associated to the issue. 
> > It does appear to invalidate your claim that longdesc currently "DOES
> > provide effective and consistent support for users regardless of
> > browser and AT".
> How, because *if* a user chooses to use tools that are flawed, that an
> HTML attribute is broken? That's like saying Torx screw-heads (ISO 10664)
> are useless because most people don't have Torx screw-drivers.
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torx) 
> The logic simply does not follow.
> Matthew Turvey also wrote:
> > >
> > > Finally, we can find some common ground.
> > 
> > Great. Can you explain to Janina how poorly supported longdesc is, and
> > why it doesn't currently provide a reliable and effective user
> > experience.
> > 
> No, because a collection of tools that provide support for @longdesc
> *DOES* exist today for those that need or require that support, and
> individual users who want to access long descriptions supplied via
> @longdesc, whether they are sighted or not, have a choice of options to do
> just that.
> I reject your assertion that for any part of HTML5 to be useful or
> valuable that it must have universal "support" in browsers - if this is
> the case then I would also expect to see you file a Bug, and escalate to
> an Issue, the fact that because all browsers do not support H.264 encoded
> videos (.mp4 files) that the use of .mp4 files should be deemed
> non-conformant in HTML5, as 3 of the major 5 browsers do not support H.264
> encoded videos, and further have very publicly stated that they will not.
> While you're at it, perhaps you will also seek to remove the Details &
> Summary elements from the Draft spec, since at this time it appears that
> most browsers (with the exception of Chrome) show no sign of making that
> content "accessible" as well. MathML should go as well, if you are looking
> to sanitize the web: here only Firefox provides support (with limited
> support in Opera). http://caniuse.com/#search=MathML 
> Of course, these suggestions are as ludicrous as your suggestion - all are
> grasping at straws to try and make a point and ignore other realities in
> evidence today.
> Matt, at this point it appears to me that you are now simply trolling this
> list: you have 2 options - file an alternative Change Proposal, or wait
> for the Chairs to post another survey and register your objections there.
> JF


Janina Sajka,	Phone:	+1.443.300.2200

Chair, Open Accessibility	janina@a11y.org	
Linux Foundation		http://a11y.org

Chair, Protocols & Formats
Web Accessibility Initiative	http://www.w3.org/wai/pf
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Received on Friday, 17 June 2011 17:28:30 UTC

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