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Re: Baby Steps or Backwards Steps?

From: Jan Richards <jan.richards@utoronto.ca>
Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2007 12:11:29 -0400
Message-ID: <46C47731.6060800@utoronto.ca>
To: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
CC: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Jason White <jason@jasonjgw.net>, HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>, wai-xtech@w3.org

I think there may be some misunderstanding about the nature of alt-text 
prompting that is being advocated.

The modal prompt as part of image insertion is really not a good 
implementation. Authors feel pressure to add seemingly redundant 
information on a schedule they don't agree with.

Improved workflows would:

- motivate the user by explaining that in addition to people who can't 
see the images, the alt text can be used by search engines and/or will 
be used to make the user's personal image collection more searchable.

- prompt the user more gently, allowing them to address the situation 
when they are ready:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/AU/2007/WD-ATAG20techs-20070416/tech2.html#check-prompt-assist-user

- support the user in adding the alt text by providing the image to be 
described and advice about how to describe it:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/AU/2007/WD-ATAG20techs-20070416/tech2.html#prompting-types

- give the user a bigger payback for their valuable time spent writing 
descriptions (e.g. by suggesting* the same alt if the same image is 
reused, by using the alt to search the image archive, etc.):
http://www.w3.org/WAI/AU/2007/WD-ATAG20techs-20070416/tech2.html#check-have-alt-registry

*"Suggest" rather than automatically use since the language and/or 
context of use may be different.

Cheers,
Jan Richards
(Acting WAI-AUWG Staff Contact)


-- 
Jan Richards, M.Sc.
User Interface Design Specialist
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC)
Faculty of Information Studies
University of Toronto




>> Please keep in mind these kinds of scenarios where the "authoring 
>> tool" is simply an end-user application that happens to generate HTML. 
>> Such applications aim not professional authors but end users who are 
>> not experts on markup or accessibility. Note that popping up a modal 
>> dialog to ask for alt text could actually hurt accessibility for 
>> creating and sharing content.
> 
> How could that hurt accessibility? If the application is not aimed at 
> professionals, then shouldn't it provide more assistance to users to 
> help them catalog and manipulate their images?
Received on Thursday, 16 August 2007 16:11:05 UTC

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