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[Bug 13651] Missing alt should not be considered conforming in the presence of figcaptions over 50 words in length.

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Sun, 07 Aug 2011 11:25:21 +0000
To: public-html-a11y@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1Qq1Tt-0007PE-46@jessica.w3.org>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=13651

Matthew Turvey <mcturvey@gmail.com> changed:

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--- Comment #7 from Matthew Turvey <mcturvey@gmail.com> 2011-08-07 11:25:19 UTC ---
(In reply to comment #0)

> Missing alt should not be considered conforming in the presence of
> figcaptions over 50 words in length, except where the base language is
> that of an agglutinative language [3], in which case the threshold for
> considering missing alt non-conforming in the presence of figcaption
> should be figcaptions of over 20 words in length.

This seems to be an entirely arbitrary conformance condition. If enacted it
would mean we'd be in the bizarre situation where an image without an alt
attribute but with a figcaption 51 words long is non-conforming, but an image
with an alt attribute 51 words (or 5000 words) long is conforming. 

It also appears to be sub-optimal to suggest to authors that a short text
alternative 50 words long is accessible, but if it's 51 words long it is
inaccessible. It seems to me like the kind of thing authors would regard as
silly and just ignore; clearly there's no hard and fast rule here.

If length of text alternatives is a serious issue, WCAG would appear to be the
best place to provide guidance to authors, not syntax conformance checkers.

The page John linked above also includes an Advisory Techniques section and the
second bullet point is "Keeping short descriptions short (future link)." So
presumably WAI will provide authoring advice on this issue at some point in the
future. 

(FWIW I don't think UAs will suddenly become magically incapable of providing a
way for users to skip over lumps of text in the future, but can't prove it.)

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Received on Sunday, 7 August 2011 11:25:22 GMT

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