Re: FORMAL OBJECTION (was RE: Working Group Decision on ISSUE-204 aria-hidden)

On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 12:38 AM, John Foliot <> wrote:
> Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis wrote:
>> On Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 11:18 PM, John Foliot <> wrote:
>> > How do *you* think a Deaf person might access such descriptions that
>> are @hidden but "conforming"?
>> If they wanted to access them, I'd expect them to use a user agent
>> with a mechanism for exposing them.
>> The challenge of universal access to hidden descriptions is not
>> specific to descriptions that have structure or interactivity. Yet
>> ARIA blesses hidden descriptions and accordingly so do both CPs.
> See, right there, this is where I believe you are misunderstanding ARIA.
> ARIA "blesses" nothing

What I mean by "blesses" is such usage is not merely conforming by
omission but explicitly suggested.

Long descriptions for images:

Structured and interactive content:

"aria-describedby may reference structured or interactive information
where users would want to be able to navigate to different sections of
content. User agents MAY provide a way for the user to navigate to
structured information referenced by aria-describedby and assistive
technology SHOULD provide such a method."

It would of course be trivial for ARIA to warn authors to use
aria-describedby only for short, help-like descriptions that can be
flattened, but it doesn't do this, instead suggesting usages that run
directly counter to short descriptions.

> Neither the APIs nor aria-description were designed to be outputting complex structured data

Curious that you describe an API that exposes a tree-like structure of
different nodes with cross-tree relationships expressed through
attributes as not "designed to be outputting complex structured data"!

>, nor the concept that it be used to actually output multi-sentences worth of human readable text

It's of course common for long descriptions of images to use multiple sentences.

> , and neither "blesses" their usage in this way.

Demonstrably false. See citations above.

> It is this new CP that seeks this "blessing", which the Chairs and this Working Group believe to be their right to bestow (Rich Schwerdtfeger for one may disagree).

Funny sort of blessing: "authors SHOULD NOT reference hidden content
which would lose essential meaning when flattened".

There is no reason to believe authors will suddenly stop using
aria-describedby for structured or interactive content when they hide
it. So all we do by preventing user agents giving end-users access to
such content is to hurt end-users.

(This is, of course, buying the notion expressed without evidence in
both CPs that authors are likely to use hidden-like markup to include
content in aria-describedby rather than to exclude it. We now have
anecdotal evidence that the later is occurring.)

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

Received on Thursday, 16 August 2012 09:32:20 UTC