The Long Description (13th February 2008)
(In response to The rise and fall of the LONGDESC from RNIB’s WAC. My reply was greeted by a very long wait, ending with The connection was reset. Bummer.)
Looks like this attribute catches out the best of us!
- The “workable LONGDESC” won’t work. It uses curly quotes instead of straight quotes. If you mark it up as a code sample (with
<pre><code>or similar) your publishing tool might avoid doing that. Or it might not.
- The paragraph just after the example says “[...] HTML page called ‘
whitby01.jpg’ [...]” but the
longdescin the sample points to
Adjacent text links visible to all are in WCAG 1.0, called description links. They didn’t catch on because it creates visual clutter:
- If you can see the link the can see the image.
- Difficult to make the link look natural and fit in with a professional design.
For images which are not links, you could wrap the image in
<a href> where
href takes the place of
<img>. But then some image links will take users to long descriptions whilst others take them to normal pages. That uncertainty is undesirable.
<a href> is interactive content inside other interactive content. Form controls aren’t allowed inside
<a href> or inside other form controls. But text-to-speech devices could treat this as 2 links, side-by-side. Users could then move between them normally and select the one they want.
Situations where detailed descriptions of graphics are helpful would probably help everyone. Art, fashion, architecture, typography and so on. But in these cases, such descriptions should be the main content, not a separate page?