Any user can access a
longdesc by using a user
agent that supports it. Recent research finds that
modern screen readers have good support for the
longdesc attribute. A
collection of tools that provide support for
exists for those that need or require that support. Users who
want to access long descriptions supplied via
longdesc, whether they are sighted or not, have a
choice of options to do so. The claim that
isn't exposed to some users is outweighed by the concrete examples
of it being exposed in accessible ways and is as ludicrous as
suggesting that the
<img> element should be
removed from HTML5 because its graphic contents cannot be disclosed
to users who elect to use Lynx or similar.
On March 11, 2011, professional content producers at the Digital
Image and Graphic Resources for Accessible Materials Center
longdesc support for other users.
Their testimony states:
features developed to help people with specific disabilities also assist other users, and this is true for long image descriptions. Today, for example, Firefox and Opera allow the user to open a context menu over an image and choose to see the long description on the screen, if @longdesc is included with the image. This is an excellent tool for assisting sighted students with learning disabilities who need textual reinforcement when deciphering the contents of a complicated image. Also, as image descriptions become more widely used, it is expected that search engines can take advantage of descriptions in locating relevant images.
Since March 11, 2011 user agent
implementation has grown. The following examples clearly
demonstrate this and how
longdesc is machine
longdesc proposal inaccurately
To be successful longdesc needs to have an activation mechanism as easy and intuitive to use as a normal link, which is probably impossible.
It is not impossible. A new longdesk
FireFox extension has been developed that adds a link to the
longdesc under images that provides one. It makes the
longdesc activation easy and intuitive for sighted
users who wish access.
For those who would like an indication of when
longdescs are available on a page without interfering
with page design, a new TellMeMore
Opera extension has been developed. It respects visual design
and does not force an on-page visual encumbrance. Instead it
provides an icon in the chrome to indicate when descriptions exist.
Then, upon activating the icon, the user is presented with a popup
containing a list of all descriptions available along with their
New direct replacement functionality has been provided via a scripted implementation. easyALBUM utilizes programmatic determinability as evidenced in several recent photo albums.
A longdesc favelet by James Thatcher first announces the number
of images on a page that has longdesc attributes. Then it
highlights each image on the page that has a
and provides on-screen text links to each corresponding
description. It provides universal functionality of
longdesc in browsers such as Chrome, FireFox, Internet
Explorer, and Safari. For the functional favelet drag
longdesc to your bookmarks.
longdesc Change Proposal fails to
provide any evidence that it would be difficult or impossible for
user agents to identify and make good use of
In fact, a FireFox browser vendor responded to a question asking
"Would it be possible to make
longdesc a global
attribute?" by saying, "
This is software, anything is possible".
On May 5, 2012, HTML Co-Chair, Maciej Stachowiak stated,
if a UA can give a better experience i think they should be encouraged to try
To help browser vendors in this effort in the future, new
text has been specified for the 10.6.1 rendering section. which
longdesc can be made discoverable. It
will encouraged to them to improve support. As Anne van Kesteren
has said, examples
in the specification serve as an incentive to vendors:
It's an incentive to get the software fixed.