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Re: WCAG considering amending F65 to NOT fail missing ALT text if title or aria-label is present

From: James Craig <jcraig@apple.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2013 15:47:44 -0800
Cc: Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, WCAG WG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, public-comments-wcag20@w3.org, Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>, kirsten@can-adapt.com
Message-id: <CD572005-FBCB-4E78-9085-F85898C514E5@apple.com>
To: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>
+1 to NOT fail an accessibility verification test if <img> has no @alt but does a non-empty value for @aria-label or @title.

There should still be a markup validation error, but not an accessibility error.


On Nov 22, 2013, at 3:27 PM, David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca> wrote:

> On behalf of the WCAG working group, I have an action item to solicit
> responses from the wider community regarding a proposed amendment to WCAG
> failure technique F65 regarding missing ALT. Currently; if an <img> element
> is missing from an ALT attribute the page fails WCAG SC 1.1.1 Level A. Some
> are proposing that we allow authors to use the aria-label, aria-labelledby,
> and title attributes INSTEAD of ALT. 
> 
> So under the amended failure technique NONE of the following would fail
> WCAG:
> 
> <img src="../images/giraffe.jpg" title="Giraffe grazing on tree branches"/>
> 
> <img src="../images/giraffe.jpg" aria-label="Giraffe grazing on tree
> branches"/>
> 
> <img src="../images/giraffe.jpg" aria-labelledby="123"/>
> <p id="123"> Giraffe grazing on tree branches</p>
> 
> As you can imagine there are strong opinions all around on this so I
> suggested we get a sense of what other groups such as the HTML5 A11y TF and
> PF think.
> 
> Those in favour of the change provide the following rational: 
> 
> --These alternatives on the img element work in assistive technology
> --The aria spec says these attributes should get an accessible NAME in the
> API  
> http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/roles#textalternativecomputation 
> --They say it's easy to teach beginner programmers to just always use an
> aria label on everything, rather than requiring a label on form fields and
> alt on images
> --They feel as a failure F65 is very strong if fails a page for missing ALT,
> especially if other things work, and they would like to soften it to allow
> other things that work.
> --html 5 allows a <figure><legend> combination instead of alt, so they feel
> WCAG will have to change F65 anyway to allow a figure with a legend, and
> that helps open the door to this discussion
> 
> Those in favour of the status quo (which fails missing alt text) provide the
> following rational:
> 
> --aria-label, labelledby and title, are not really suitable attributes for
> img alternative text because they implies a label or title, rather than an
> alternate text, so it is not a semantic equivalent
> --title is not well supported
> --some feel that the aria spec is not in any way suggesting these as
> replacements to ALT.
> --aria instructs authors to use native html where possible, and they could
> not come up with viable use cases of omitting alt text
> --there are hundreds of millions of dollars invested in current evaluation
> tools, and methodologies, and this would represent a major departure from
> one of the most basic accessibility convention, that is almost as old as the
> web and is the "rock star" of accessibility
> --it could cost a lot of money to change guidance to developers etc..., and
> muddy the waters on a very efficient current evaluation mechanism
> --when the figure/legend is supported by AT we can amend F65 but that is a
> different issue and the semantics of this construct are OK for text
> alternatives, rather than the label/labelledby/title options
> --it may cause some confidence problems to WCAG legislation, because it
> represents a strong loosening to a fundamental Success Criteria, an
> unnecessary change that doesn't help the cause of accessibility, but just
> complicates things
> --ALT is better supported and the text appears when images are turned off.
> --initial twitter feedback from the community is strongly against changing
> this failure
> 
> 
> There are probably other reasons on both sides which we hope to hear ... but
> these should start it off. Please give your opinions and reasons.
> 
> Current technique here:
> http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-TECHS/F65.html 
> Proposed failure here (see test procedure)
> 
> 
> 
> Cheers,
> David MacDonald
> 
> CanAdapt Solutions Inc.
> Tel:  613.235.4902
> http://ca.linkedin.com/in/davidmacdonald100
> www.Can-Adapt.com
>    
>   Adapting the web to all users
>             Including those with disabilities
> 
> 
> 
> 
Received on Friday, 22 November 2013 23:48:15 UTC

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