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Re: Baby Steps or Backwards Steps?

From: scott lewis <sfl@scotfl.ca>
Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2007 06:15:01 -0600
To: Jason White <jason@jasonjgw.net>
Cc: HTML Working Group <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <89B0377D-F9FB-437C-85B9-D78A9D14AFCC@scotfl.ca>

On 16 Aug 2007, at 0455, Jason White wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 16, 2007 at 08:34:35PM +1000, Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>
>> Seriously, of the following alternatives, which is better for a
>> non-decorative content image, in the cases where good alternative  
>> text is
>> not available?
>>
>> 1. No alt attribute.
>> 2. Empty alt attribute.
>> 3. Alt text with a redundant value (one that just repeats surrounding
>> content such as its heading or caption)
>> 4. Alt text with a value like alt="photo" or other similar value.
>
> 3 followed by 4, in that preference order.
>
> 3 at least unambiguously identifies this image (provided that the  
> title or caption is distinct).

The order of the img tags in the document unambiguously identifies  
the image, regardless of the title or caption.


> 4 at least indicates that the image is possibly non-decorative,  
> potentially significant content,

How would one mark-up a decorative image with no significant content?  
(Assuming an @alt must be present.)

@Alt is intended to provide an alternative, textual representation of  
the image. I do not believe that merely echoing attributes of the  
_image file_ provides any insight whatsoever about the _image_.

For example, what is the following image of?

File Name: IMG20674.JPG
Size: 1024 x 768 pixels
Title: This was awesome!
Tags: vacation06
Automatically generated @alt: "This was awesome! - IMG20674.JPG"

I can't imagine anyone presented with that would be able to determine  
that the image is a picture of a humpback whale breaching the surface  
off the coast of California. Not even in the vaguest terms.

The @alt takes up space in the document, adding to the bandwidth  
required to transfer the document, the space required to store the  
document, and the time required to process the document. I would  
suggest that the @alt should provide some value that justifies its  
presence in the document.


> and alerts the reader to the fact that the document author hasn't  
> made an effort to supply useful ALT text possibly providing site- 
> specific or language-specific advice depending on the authoring  
> tool and its configuration.

This applies to a missing @alt as much as it applies to a 'filler' @alt.


scott.
Received on Thursday, 16 August 2007 12:15:29 GMT

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