[html5] Banishing longdesc?

Matt Bonner mattbonner at gmail.com
Fri Aug 13 00:20:31 PDT 2010


Are there any tools that would help web authors understand how and where to
AT-related tags/attributes such that they worked well with popular AT
offerings?  It
seems like an accessibility-oriented tool for
http://www.w3.org/QA/Tools/would be a
great help.


On Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 1:30 PM, Sailesh Panchang <spanchang02 at yahoo.com>wrote:

> The recent decision to banish the longdesc attribute from HTML [1] spurred
>  me to write this. The argument that won the day it seems was "there are no
> good examples" of longdesc in use.
> Similar arguments were made  by those who opposed the American with
> Disabilities Act: no wheelchair users  come into my library so why should I
> make it accessible?
> Even today authors / developers fail to  code forms and data tables as they
> should be coded with proper accessibility markup. And there are countless
> such forms and tables out there. So why not banish the FORM and TABLE
> element?
> The problem is most developers / authors do not know what AT is, how AT
> works, how a blind guy navigates a table, what non-visual access is, what
>  audio user interface is. So obviously you cannot expect them to write
> imaginative and helpful text alternatives. As alt is required for every img
> and there has been a lot of guidance on this subject one does come across
> pages  with passable / good alt values. Unfortunately authors / developers
> are not  aware  on the use of longdesc: when it is needed and how to write
> one. When told to include the description for a chart using the longdesc,
> developers  do not create an htm file but  enclose the description within
> quotes ... like the alt value. Or they simply duplicate the alt text within
> an htm file.
> Just  a few days ago I saw a page on which every image had an alt and a
> longdesc ...  even image links had a longdesc. It only demonstrates that the
> author / developer does not know how to use the attribute and not that the
> attribute is flawed.
> Sometimes we see tabular content marked up with the PRE element and not the
> TABLE element. So should PRE be banned? PRE has its uses and any element
> when misused or used incorrectly  creates an accessibility problem. Like the
> HTML 5 list of participants in good standing page! It uses a definition list
> to list participants. And a separate DL element for each participant. Maybe
> DL should be banned.
> On the other hand,  I applaud the HTML 5 draft for saying do not use tables
> for layout and not to use empty rows / columns within data tables.
> So what is needed is more education and outreach  on the proper use of
> longdesc. So do not banish it.
> Sailesh Panchang
> Accessibility Services Lead
> Centreville VA
> * [1]
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Aug/att-0112/issue-30-decision.html
> _______________________________________________
> Help mailing list
> Help at lists.whatwg.org
> http://lists.whatwg.org/listinfo.cgi/help-whatwg.org

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/help-whatwg.org/attachments/20100813/f221b7f8/attachment-0003.htm>

More information about the Help mailing list