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Re: Reality Check: Bi-polar Accessibility Disorder (BAD)

From: Philip Taylor (Webmaster) <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
Date: Wed, 01 Aug 2007 08:22:06 +0100
Message-ID: <46B0349E.2070700@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
To: Dave Singer <singer@apple.com>
CC: public-html WG <public-html@w3.org>

Dave Singer wrote:

> I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen something like 
> "Frobotz 2" as an optional install, and wondered if I needed it or not, 
> clicked on it to find out what it was, and been given the explanatory 
> string "This installs the Frobotz 2 option".  Which is useless to me.
> Requiring (this is an example only) a text description of elements may 
> be counterproductive.  Authoring tools or authors might, for example, 
> insert "this is an image" as the default description of all images.  Now 
> browsers, crawlers, analyzers etc. cannot tell easily whether an element 
> has a real (useful) text description or not. Indeed, a browser that 
> tries to "say something useful" about un-described elements now is 
> "blocked" by these apparent (but useless) descriptions.

All good points (said he, as one proud to wear the
"I care about accessibility" badge).  But if the author
of "Frobotz 2" had /not/ written "This installs
Frobotz 2", what more useful information might the
installer have been able to adduce ?  Thus I argue
that simply because some authors will be too d@mn
lazy to write meaningful ALT attributes,
longdesc[riptions], fallback content for containers
and so on does not mean that that the formal specification
should not require them : rather it means that the part
of the specification that addresses authoring tools
should state categorically that tools should not
insert meaningless boilerplate copy for required
content, but rather than the tool should guide the
user through the process of creating meaningful content.
Similarly that part of the specification addressed
to authors should contain useful guidelines on what
constitutes, and what does not constitute, meaningful

Philip Taylor
Received on Wednesday, 1 August 2007 07:22:37 UTC

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