Re: Drop longdesc, get aria-describedat?

Hi Laura,

you wrote:

"A warning for a proper longdesc is simply wrong. People should not be
reprimanded for doing the right thing. On the contrary, they should be

the details element is an example of a conforming HTML5 feature that
triggers a warning in the

"*Warning*: The details element is not supported properly by browsers yet.
It would probably be better to wait for implementations."

If longdesc becomes conforming in HTML5, I would strongly favour a warning
to inform developers of its lack of support.


On 8 March 2012 18:06, Laura Carlson <> wrote:

> Hi Steve,
> > "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. Others may have other views."
> >
> > I  find that to be an acceptable compromise.
> First, two references:
> 1. Regarding conforming but with a warning the HTML Chairs' Decision
> on ISSUE-30, stated:
> "The weakest proposal was the one that makes longdesc conforming but
> with a warning...there was a strong argument which is unique to this
> proposal: if longdesc is conforming, user agents will be required to
> support it; if there is a validator warning, users will be discouraged
> from using it. This combination is the worst of all possibilities.
> Eliminating this proposal early made the process of coming to a
> resolution simpler." [1]
> 2. Obsolete but conforming features trigger HTML5 warnings with advice
> to use a specific and different solution. [2]
> Now, why obsolete but conforming is unacceptable to me:
> A warning for a proper longdesc is simply wrong. People should not be
> reprimanded for doing the right thing. On the contrary, they should be
> applauded.
> It has been substantially evidenced via the documentation of over
> fourteen hundred real world examples of longdesc that authors do
> indeed use this attribute in practice to improve accessibility. This
> is a non-negligible number of examples that utilize longdesc in
> meaningful ways. All of the images in those examples would be
> significantly less accessible (some even totally inaccessible) without
> it.
> Breaking both compatibility with existing best practice (and
> documentation of the same), as well as requiring a wide range of
> tools, content, and authoring guidance to be updated in order to
> achieve compatibility with a replacement for longdesc - for something
> meant to solve the SAME problem, is an intolerable cost. It would be
> an illogical undue burden and unacceptable to authors and
> organizations that have already made investments in the use of
> longdesc.
> Longdesc solves problems and makes things better. Other proposed
> solutions do not meet requirements and do not have an existing
> critical support base of tools and educational materials.
> Longdesc strengthens the language. Other techniques are either
> nonexistent, retrograde, or makeshift substitutes that do not directly
> provide the valuable semantics and critical backwards compatibility
> that longdesc does. No better technical solution exists.
> People with disabilities would be the losers if longdesc were made
> obsolete but conforming. It would be an unnecessary atrocity on
> authors and users with disabilities.
> Best Regards,
> Laura
> [1]
> [2]
> --
> Laura L. Carlson

with regards

Steve Faulkner
Technical Director - TPG | |
HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives -
Web Accessibility Toolbar -

Received on Monday, 12 March 2012 11:21:36 UTC