[html4all] An offer to the HTML5 team to save longdesc

Leif Halvard Silli xn--mlform-iua at xn--mlform-iua.no
Thu Sep 30 19:56:40 PDT 2010

Vlad Alexander (XStandard), Thu, 30 Sep 2010 15:05:28 -0700:
> http://rebuildingtheweb.com/en/offer-to-save-longdesc/

When i posted your link to public-html-a11y@ I got a response from a 
HTMLwg member who

a) read you as "new attribute, similar function, same name" ;-)
b) suggested "how about new name", to free ourselves from history?

I played back about a @desc-href or @dref attribute. Could be used also 
on e.g. video. So, let's keep eyes and ears open!

My alternative idea: instead of a link attribute directly on the 
embedded elements themselves, how about a new wrapper element for such 
elements. This wrapper element would could use @longdesc or @href as 
link attribute, and could take the @alt text as link text value. In 
addition it could take normal content. I'd call the element <textual/> 
and pose it as a *visible* "textual substitute" element (yes, Vlad!): 

<a href=link-to-big-picture title="see full size">
  <textual dref=link alt="Link to long description. ">
    <img alt="Our summer house in France">
   Mom, dad and myself in front of the house.

If no visible image substitute is needed, then it could still be used 
as long description link:

<a href=link-to-big-picture title="see full size">
  <textual dref=link alt="Link to long description">
    <img alt="Our summer house in France">

The thinking behind the name 'textual' is that it can associate to 
'textual substitute/alternative/description' as well as to 'textual 
link'. It is also an attribute that offers a contrast: textual versus 
non-textual. It encourages authors to add something textual. The 
thinking is also that the name should not compete with caption, 
figcaption, summary etc.

Having a specific element for this, one would not did to spend so much 
debating whether this or that element needs a long description link 
feature. A dedicated element also *could* allow us to re-use @href 
instead of re-using @longdesc - if the ruling is that that @href would 
be the better option.
leif halvard silli

More information about the List_HTML4all.org mailing list