Recently I Twittered daily about longdesc, the classic unsung HTML attribute which supports long descriptions of images. Here’s a summary of the tweets/links:
- HTML5 Image Description Extension (longdesc) specification
- Solving the longdesc problem (also read comments) by Leonie Watson
- longdesk – a Firefox add-on to support the longdesc attribute by Anthony Ricaud
- Longdesc Chrome extension
- “User Agents and longdesc Discoverability” – ways browsers support longdesc, by @Laura_Carlson
- Firefox 25: longdesc attribute now exposed in context menu (under HTML heading)
- Longdesc Firefox add-on by @patrick_h_lauke
- Help on long descriptions and longdesc by @WebAIM
- jQuery Accessible Longdesc Plugin by @Ginader
- Drupal issue to “Incorporate #longdesc into image support”
To make a long story short (pun intended), longdesc was made obsolete in HTML5 but then returned. I applaud @JohnFoliot, @Laura_Carlson, and @Chaals in their dedicated efforts to return longdesc. I agree it should remain as there is no sufficient ARIA replacement.
Here are more great links on the topic on long description over the last few years.
- disembodied (article with comic) by CSSquirrel (September 2012)
- W3C discussion on longdesc/aria-describedat (March 2012)
- Longdesc & Other Long Image Description Solutions — Part 1: The Issues by Dennis Lembree (April 2011)
- longdesc in HTML5 by @BruceL (March 2011)
- Longdesc is dead! Long live Longdesc! by Joshue O Connor (August 2010)
- Web Axe Podcast #83: Fate of Longdesc in HTML5 (August 2010)
- HTML4 longdesc specification
Check out the ARIA 1.1 spec for aria-describedat! The aria-describedby attribute is like a combination of longdesc and aria-describedby. I’m pretty excited about this as it seems to provide a method for long description that we can all agree on.