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October 2014 Standards Update

2014 October 30
by jnoblitt

@longdesc moves toward W3C recommendation

Submitted by Geoff Freed, National Center for Accessible Media, WGBH

The inclusion of the longdesc attribute in HTML5 has been debated for nearly five years, but at long last the matter has been settled. This week the W3C resolved a formal objection to the HTML5 Image Description Extension (also known as the longdesc extension to HTML5), clearing the way for the document to continue moving toward a full W3C recommendation. You can read the full ruling at http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-admin/2014Oct/0099.html . It’s a very long decision but is very much worth reading. The W3C’s decision and, eventually, approval of the extension as a formal recommendation will give authors full support for using longdesc as one method among several to provide detailed image descriptions.

For those who like to read the end of mysteries first, here’s the final ruling:

11. DECISION:
On the basis of careful consideration of all points raised, the Director does not find sufficient basis to uphold this formal objection and it is hereby overruled.

The Joint HTML Accessibility Task Force, and the two Working Groups under which the Task Force operates, may therefore continue to progress this specification per W3C Process.

We encourage all parties to apply their creative energies and design capabilities constructively towards improved solutions for accessible image descriptions in the future.

W3C on HTML5

Submitted by Geoff Freed, National Center for Accessible Media, WGBH

The W3C has formally advanced HTML5 for full recommendation status, as they announced in a statement this week: http://www.w3.org/blog/news/archives/4167 . While it isn’t news that HTML5 and related technologies such as SVG and MathML (which are included within the full specification) have been in use for some time, the recognition of the markup as a formal W3C recommendation means that it’s a complete standard, at least until HTML5.1 is issued sometime in 2015. For DIAGRAM, it might mean that SVG and MathML may start replacing their image counterparts in textbooks and other materials.

Standards Working Group Update

The DIAGRAM Standards Working Group continues to meet jointly with the TIES (Transition to Inclusive EPUB 3 eco System) Working Group on a biweekly basis, every other Tuesday. The groups have made great progress on enhancements to the DIAGRAM Content Model, and have made progress with a braille rendition in the IDPF. Please contact George Kerscher at <kerscher [at] montana [dot] com> if you would like more information. All meeting notes continue to be posted on the DIAGRAM Standards WG wiki.

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