W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html-a11y@w3.org > November 2013

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

From: 'Janina Sajka' <janina@rednote.net>
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2013 18:54:14 -0500
To: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>
Cc: "'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: <20131122235414.GV7701@concerto.rednote.net>
David:

As a point of information, the wider WAI community has already expressed
a view on this. We did so back in 2009, after almost a year of teleconferences nd
email discussions by way of presenting a coherent approach to the
HTML-WG.

The document we produced is entitled, "WAI CG Consensus Resolutions on
Text alternatives in HTML 5," and is available at:

http://www.w3.org/2009/06/Text-Alternatives-in-HTML5.html

So, while it's always good to revisit old thinking, it should not be
forgotten that we've already covered this ground, and that we covered it
quite extensively.

Janina


David MacDonald writes:
> 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
> 
> 

-- 

Janina Sajka,	Phone:	+1.443.300.2200
			sip:janina@asterisk.rednote.net
		Email:	janina@rednote.net

Linux Foundation Fellow
Executive Chair, Accessibility Workgroup:	http://a11y.org

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
Chair,	Protocols & Formats	http://www.w3.org/wai/pf
	Indie UI			http://www.w3.org/WAI/IndieUI/
Received on Friday, 22 November 2013 23:55:37 UTC

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