HTML Standards and Longdesc
Submitted by Geoff Freed
With the publication of the HTML5 Image Description Extension earlier this year, the debate about longdesc’s status in HTML is finally closed. However, the debate about whether or not it’s the right way to convey long image descriptions is ongoing. The good news/bad news is that there are multiple, legitimate methods for providing descriptions. As always, we will continue to update DIAGRAM’s Standards for Adding Long Descriptions to Your Content as new developments, if any, emerge.
On a related note, the W3C has moved the Techniques for Providing Useful Text Alternatives working-group note from a separate document directly into the HTML5.1 working draft. This is good, because now authors will see this information right in the full spec, rather than needing to navigate to an outside document. Interestingly, these guidelines do not mention longdesc as a text alternative.