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RE: Updated ISSUE-206 CP

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2012 16:26:05 -0700
To: "'Edward O'Connor'" <eoconnor@apple.com>, <public-html@w3.org>, "'HTML Accessibility Task Force'" <public-html-a11y@w3.org>
Message-ID: <005c01cd7ff4$58261150$087233f0$@ca>
(adding the Accessibility TF mailing list to the mix)

Edward O'Connor wrote:
> 
> Hi all,
> 
> I've updated my Change Proposal for ISSUE-206 (meta-generator) based on
> all the great discussion that's happened on the list since I originally
> posted it. As before, the Change Proposal is on the WG's wiki here:
> 
>          http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/User:Eoconnor/ISSUE-206


Hi Ted,

One key point that emerged during the list conversation
(http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2012Aug/0067.html) is that
this new attribute should have, at a minimum, a default accessible name that
would be conveyed to the Accessibility APIs.

One current effect of applying alt="" is that it silences screen readers
from attempting to provide a heuristicly derived accessible name
("H6rGT8.jpg") and it also loosely maps to role="presentation". If we are to
create a new attribute that has an impact on this existing legacy behavior,
we should be providing a default accessible name to offset any attempt to
heuristically generate one.

Earlier this month I had a series of telephone and skype conversations with
a number of blind users whom I know personally. All of them have a slightly
higher-than-average understanding of web technologies, but all are, most
importantly, daily screen reader users. I was curious to know their thoughts
on the meta-issue (not the meta tag issue, but the larger discussion), and
what they would want/expect as a behavior when we tag an image with an
indicator that a textual equivalent is not available (user-experience). I
also spoke to a few web accessibility professionals who do not normally
spend time at the W3C, but who none-the-less spend their time, energy and
passion on ensuring accessible web content is created (and specifically,
they were Jared Smith of WebAIM, and Glenda Sims of Deque). The list of
people I spoke to is limited, and not necessarily representative of all
screen reader users, but it is/was a start.

UX: the unanimous feedback I heard was that yes, if an important image is on
a page, and even if there is no textual equivalent provided, that they
(non-sighted users) want to know of the existence of the image. 

*How* we communicate that was less unanimous, but that underlying desire
does exist. The differences here were centered mostly around cognitive value
of the feedback (what would the screen reader say?), and the balancing of
verbosity (overly chatty/too much information actually gets in the way).
Whether it is because of how I expressed or explained the situation to my
colleagues I cannot say, but all shared my concern of how/what the UX for
the non-sighted user would be. One person (Victor Tsaran - Yahoo!) suggested
that all he would want to hear is "Image" (or "Graphic") with nothing else:
the end user would then assume or presume that there is something there, and
seek assistance. Another (Everett Zufelt) suggested that screen readers
could speak "Image: without description", while others were ambivalent about
specific wording. All however wanted to ensure that whatever is communicated
is clear to the end user. 

(As an aside, none of the current new attribute proposals address this
concern, and so all are incomplete at this time IMHO. Any of the 3 new
attributes will also need to have a mechanism that informs users that "this
is an important image that lacks any textual alternative", so the
interaction with AT tools needs to be addressed.)

Ted, I'd be a lot more enthusiastic of your revised Change Proposal if it
addressed this need.

Cheers!

JF

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Edward O'Connor [mailto:eoconnor@apple.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 2:55 PM
> To: public-html@w3.org
> Subject: Updated ISSUE-206 CP
> 
> Hi all,
> 
> I've updated my Change Proposal for ISSUE-206 (meta-generator) based on
> all the great discussion that's happened on the list since I originally
> posted it. As before, the Change Proposal is on the WG's wiki here:
> 
>          http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/User:Eoconnor/ISSUE-206
> 
> Many people commented that calling the attribute relaxed="" is
> problematic, and several other names have been propsed. Based on the
> design princples in [1], the analysis in [2], and other emails on the
> subject, I've changed the proposed attribute's name to
> generator-unknown-alt="".
> 
> On the plus side, this name is more concise than the very-long
> generator-unable-to-provide-required-alt="", and it conveys several
> important facts:
> 
> 1. the fact that the generator has omitted alt="",
> 2. that the reason the generator omitted alt="" is that proper alt=""
>    text is unknown to the generator,
> 3. and, unlike relaxed="", the name doesn't imply that this feature
>    could be used for other cases of relaxed validation.
> 
> On the minus side, it's longer than relaxed="".
> 
> I haven't altered the Change Proposal with regard to conformance
> checker
> behavior. As before, conformance checkers MAY report <img> elements
> without alt="" even when they have generator-unknown-alt="", but the
> Change Proposal does not advocate any particular UI for this. I trust
> Mike and Henri will come up with something better than what I would
> come
> up with.
> 
> 
> Ted
> 
> 1. http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-whatwg-
> archive/2012Aug/0004.html
> 2. http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-whatwg-
> archive/2012Aug/0038.html
Received on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 23:26:35 GMT

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