Re: Warnings for conforming features in a validator

Hi Peter,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. You make some very good points, I
agree with you.

In addition, preserving hard-won progress is needed. A warning would
discourage authors from using longdesc and implementers from
implementing it.  longdesc does have a foothold that we need to
retain. As Bill Shackleton has stated,

"...Much accessibility work takes time and yes, some of that time
includes the need for awareness and training. In my experience,
progress in accessibility has rarely been consistent or even linear...
And it is definitely not binary.

It progresses in fits and starts and even, unfortunately, backslides.
That's why it's important, in this case as in others, to wedge in a
backstop to preserve hard-won progress. Fortunately it is fundamental
W3C policy that everyone be included (regardless of disability). This
means that the burden of proof does not lay with the accessibility
community to make the case for maintaining longdesc in the next
version of HTML, but with those who wish to remove it." [3]

As for support, the longdesc change proposal [4] has new spec text. In
particular the rendering section [5] should help browser vendors make
it discoverable which in turn will make it more robust. Upon
consideration, I think it would be prudent to give it a chance before
we rush into giving warnings.

Unfortunately longdesc has not been given a chance. The HTML WG Chairs
promised to expedite the issue as a condition to proceeding to Last
Call. To date the issue has not been expedited. It has not received
due process. It has only received foot dragging and delay.

Best Regards,


On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 11:43 AM, Peter Winnberg
<> wrote:
> This is a reply to Steve Faulkner’s message about a warning for the
> longdesc attribute in the validator [1]. I apologize for not replying
> directly to that message, but I’m not subscribed to public-html-a11y
> or wai-xtech at the moment.
> If the longdesc attribute becomes conforming in HTML5 again then I
> don’t think this generate a warning in the validator. If it is
> conforming then we want to encourage people to use it and I think a
> warning would do the exact opposite. This is at least the way that
> warnings have been used in the validator in the past, discourage use
> of deprecated features and encourage people to move on to their
> replacements (e.g., move from font elements to CSS).
> How to handle incomplete/incorrect user agent implementations of
> features was handled as advice in the WCAG [2] (not sure about now
> though) and not as warnings in the validator. And because of that
> there was a clear separation between features that developers should
> move away from and features that currently have implementation issues.
> But what are the criteria for getting a warning in the validator in
> HTML5? There needs to be some consistency here so that it doesn’t seem
> like some features are treated differently than others. If the
> longdesc becomes conforming and generates a warning in the validator,
> should for example all pages that use the title attribute also get
> warnings? That attribute also have implementation issues (in some
> cases). Or should everyone that uses the canvas element get a warning,
> that element obviously has some big issues related to accessibility
> that still needs to be worked out and then have those changes
> implemented.
> But like I indicated above, in my opinion it is better if these issues
> are kept separate from warnings so that developers don’t start to move
> away from features that maybe just for a short time have
> implementation issues.
> [1]
> [2]

Laura L. Carlson

Received on Monday, 12 March 2012 17:44:23 UTC