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 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 replies on “Longdesc Links, History, Future”
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 Your ARIA link is out of date.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
Thanks for the updated link. Yea, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.