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longdescs and screen-shots

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 03:49:12 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>, Jon Gunderson <jongund@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Cc: User Agent Guidelines Emailing List <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
aloha, ian & jon!

while i know that the focus is now firmly upon the Guidelines document 
itself, i am still concerned about the lack of long descriptions for the 
screen shots that have been embedded into the Techniques document, as i 
believe it would be unconscionable for the UA WG to issue a document on 
accessibility without following accessible authoring practices...

i have prepared 2 long descriptions for the screen snapshots which i 
provided for the Techniques document, and in doing so, developed what i 
believe to be a workable template for others to provide long descriptions 
of the screen shots that they have contributed...

this is an issue that i am ready to take a strong stand on, for to 
distribute a Techniques document that includes screen shots that lack long 
descriptions would set an extremely poor precedent...  in effect, we would 
be telling others to do as WCAG says, but don't let it bother you that the 
WAI itself doesn't always adhere to WCAG to the greatest extent possible....

ian, i realize that you are one over-burdened individual, and i am amazed 
by, and grateful for, all of the work, dedication, persistence and 
perseverance that you continually display...  however, i am concerned that, 
in the rush to get the document out, logistics have forced a certain amount 
of corner-cutting -- in particular a failure to provide textual equivalents 
that fully convey the content and purpose of the graphic when an 
understanding of the detail contained in that graphic is essential to a 
complete understanding of the concept being conveyed by the text of the 
document in conjunction with the graphic...  moreover, simple D-links and 
use of the "longdesc" attribute in the HTML version of the Techniques is 
clearly insufficient -- the content of the longdesc files should be 
included inline in the plain text version of the Techniques document, where 
currently only the ALT text defined for the screen shots appears...

i don't believe that it is your individual responsibility to provide 
longdescs for all of the illustrations included in the Techniques document 
-- clearly, it is the responsibility of the individuals who have provided 
screen shots for inclusion into the Techniques document to also provide 
long descriptions of those screen shots...  it was with that thought in 
mind that i consciously created a template that could be recycled in order 
to provide longdescs for the other graphical elements in the Techniques 

and so, at the risk of incurring the wrath of the process wonks, i'm 
attaching copies of the proposed longdesc files to this emessage, as a 
means of getting the WG's input as to whether or not they think this is a 
worthwhile endeavor to pursue...  the references to the TR stylesheets in 
the doc source is absolute, so when the attached are archived in the 
w3c-wai-ua hyperarchive the stylesheets should be applied 
correctly...  some of what i've included in my longdescs could, perhaps, 
find a more appropriate home elsewhere in the Techniques document, or even 
in the Implementation document, but i included everything i believed 
necessary to explain the content of the screen shot and the functionality 
associated with each control illustrated by the screen shot...

if the underlying template could be worked into your script, would it be 
possible to include the attached (or some edited version thereof) in the 
Techniques document?  could anyone who has submitted, or who is planning on 
submitting, a screen shot for the Techniques document please also submit a 
detailed description of the contents of the screen shot as well?  at the 
very least, they could be incorporated into the plain text version of the 
Techniques now, and added as actual D-linked (as well as longdesc-linked) 
long descriptions when the script is adjusted to accomodate longdescs

ACCOUNTABILITY, n.  The mother of caution.
                         -- Ambrose Bierce, _The Devil's Dictionary_
Gregory J. Rosmaita      <unagi69@concentric.net>
Camera Obscura           <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/index.html>
VICUG NYC                <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/>
Read 'Em & Speak         <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/books/>

Received on Thursday, 16 March 2000 03:42:04 UTC

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