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CP: role=img trumps empty alt (ISSUE-206: meta-generator)

From: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2012 05:10:48 +0200
To: public-html@w3.org, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20120804051048341018.007a4ee9@xn--mlform-iua.no>
I hereby offer an alternative change proposal that does NOT add any new 
attribute:

http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/RoleImgTrumpsEmptyAlt


Please do not hesitate to provide feedback! Naturally, I am especially 
interested in hearing from those who are critical of Ted's proposal as 
well as from those who are critical of mine proposal!

SHORT VERSION OF THE CHANGE PROPOSAL:

Generators might continue their current practise of adding empty @alt 
when the user fails to add alternative text *provided* that the 
generator also adds a role=img to the element. Teachable moment — 
example — note how the role attribute contradicts the implied semantics 
of the empty alt attribute:

<img alt="" role="img" src="file" />

The proposal focuses on getting authors to do something that more 
obviously and factually is good, namely, to add  role=img which, on AT, 
has the effect that the image becomes announced (despite the empty alt 
attribute). Secondly, it focuses on working with the trends — validator 
silencing and ARIA – rather than against them.

By contrast, the @relaxed/@incomplete proposals, suggest a rather 
convoluted set of actions which has a much lower chance of being 
understood and fulfilled, and thus a much smaller chance of actually 
improving anything for AT users, and also a low chance of actually 
getting a good following:

* meeting generator developers with the expectation that they want
  to save ass — rather than kick ass;
* teaching generator developers the semantics of 'no @alt';
* getting generator devs to actually remove the @alt;
* getting generator devs to add a particular, new attribute which
  only seeks to escape the validator and to - more or less 
  obviously - stamp the element as being of lower quality.

Instead of all this: Just keep everything as is (empty alt) and add 
role=img. When an <img> has both the empty @alt plus role=img, then 
this cps asks conformance checkers to perform the same kind of 
notification as the two alternative proposals suggest when the image 
has a @relaxed/@incomplete attribute.
-- 
Leif Halvard Silli
Received on Saturday, 4 August 2012 03:11:21 GMT

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