RE: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?

Hi, Leif, Judy and everyone:

Apologies for jumping in late.  I haven't read all the messages in this thread yet, but at the risk of repeating what someone may have already pointed out, take note that the DIAGRAM project ( has begun coordinating with the EPUB working group on an epub:describedAt attribute for image descriptions:

Before going down the CG path, or any other W3C path, I suggest you take a look here first and then see how we can coordinate with the work that DIAGRAM has already begun.


From: Judy Brewer []
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2012 7:42 PM
To: Leif Halvard Silli; Silvia Pfeiffer
Cc: Richard Schwerdtfeger; W3C WAI-XTECH; HTML Accessibility Task Force
Subject: Re: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?


At 01:11 AM 3/8/2012 +0100, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>Silvia Pfeiffer, Thu, 8 Mar 2012 10:45:55 +1100:
> > On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 9:28 AM, Janina Sajka <> wrote:
> > This is why I am suggesting a Community Group. A CG
> >> My druthers would be to accept longdesc right away and call it obsolete
> >> but conforming. That clearly signals that a replacement is expected
> >> while providing needed functionality right away--the same it has been
> >> available since html 4. As I said, this is my
> >> preference.
> >
> > I agree with this. Doing this and in parallel creating a CG on
> > aria-describedat that takes on the requirements already collected in
> > Epub would IMO provide the fastest way forward.
>How do we get consensus for 'obsolete but conforming' + a CG for
>describedAT? Can this be expressed as a change proposal? And what if we
>do not get consensus for 'obsolete but conforming', do we then *not*
>create the community group?

I suggest you come to an HTML A11Y meeting for discussion; the next
one is scheduled for March 15th, due to other accessibility meetings
and conferences this week; or better yet to the text alternatives
sub-team meeting (next one should be March 13th and I am happy to put
this on the agenda) where we had been exploring this specific
category of issues in more depth. Also, please note that there has
been heavy discussion around many approaches on this already, and the
multiple delays by the HTML WG on processing the longdesc change
proposal may at this point themselves be contributing to the
confusion regarding alternative solutions on this question. The
TF-supported change proposal on longdesc is still overdue for a fair
hearing; getting another change proposal considered ahead of that
would be bad process.

As for a community group approach, note that that does nothing to
actually standardize anything, only to explore an issue. Creating a
community group for aria-describedat outside of the people who've
been working most directly on developing ARIA, and already thinking
about aria-describedat in some depth, could slow rather than speed
things up, or at best not materially change the timeline.

>Meanwhile, another option: What if HTML5 simply was silent on @longdesc
>... I mean: If we want to reuse @longdesc in ARIA - rather than
>creating a new @aria-describedAT, then HTML5 should not say that it is
>obsolete and should as well, not say that it is conforming - until it
>has been defined.

Another option is to add your voice to requesting that the
TF-supported longdesc proposal actually gets direct consideration and
fair hearing under the HTML WG decision policy, as is supposedly
imminent; though previous indications of imminence haven't yet borne

- Judy

>Leif H Silli

Received on Thursday, 8 March 2012 01:22:19 UTC