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February 2013: Standards Updates

2013 February 27

Updates on @longdesc and describedAt
by Geoff Freed

Due to a procedural error, the Accessibility Task Force recently had to restart its call for consensus on moving the @longdesc extension proposal to first public working draft (FPDW). The new call closed on Tuesday, Feb 26.  Assuming there are no major objections to moving the proposal forward (and it appears at this point that there are none), when its status changes to FPWD, @longdesc will officially no longer be considered obsolete in HTML5. Yay!  Work will then begin on refining the extension spec.

Note that the reinstatement of @longdesc alongside HTML5 does not eliminate the need for other solutions for providing long image descriptions.  It does mean, however, that authors can continue to “legally” use @longdesc (and user agents can continue to support it) while these new, more flexible solutions are developed.

Standards Working Group Update
The Standards Working Group will be well represented at CSUN this week, and co-chairs George Kerscher and Mark Hakkinen will use the opportunity to review recent developments and make plans for the next Working Group meeting. George and Mark welcome your input for agenda items, or drop by the DIAGRAM Office Hours in Suite 705 in the Harbor Tower between 5:00 and 6:30pm on Thursday February 28th to chat about your ideas.

9 Tips for Creating Accessible EPUB 3 Files
Working with our DIAGRAM partners, Benetech has prepared and posted a useful set of guidelines for content creators on how to create accessible EPUB 3 files, which is available on our home page and also on our “Standards and Practices” page. We had terrific feedback on these tips at the Tools of Change Conference this month. Please feel free to share the link!

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