Longdesc Links, History, Future

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:

Some History

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.

The Future

Check out the ARIA 1.1 spec for aria-describedat 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.

2 comments

  1. James Craig

    I think we’re even less in agreement about “described at”… It has the same problems as longdesc, but also violates the principle that ARIA should not modify the mainstream interface. Why not use a mainstream solution that already exists such as: http://cookiecrook.com/longdesc/details/

    PS. Your ARIA link is out of date. Latest editor’s draft is here. Check the notes re: describedat. http://rawgit.com/w3c/aria/master/spec/aria.html#aria-describedat

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