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Alt Text for A Key Part of the Content

From: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2007 16:10:31 +1000
Message-ID: <46D11957.4090200@lachy.id.au>
To: public-html <public-html@w3.org>

Hi,
   I think the description for alt text in the section titled "A key 
part of the content that doesn't have an obvious textual alternative" 
needs to be rewritten. [1]

Firstly, change the title to "A key part of the content".

I think these first 2 paragraphs from that section should be replaced. 
The spec currently states:

> In certain rare cases, the image is simply a critical part of the 
> content, and there might even be no alternative text available. This 
> could be the case, for instance, in a photo gallery, where a user has 
> uploaded 3000 photos from a vacation trip, without providing any 
> descriptions of the images. The images are the whole point of the 
> pages containing them.
> 
> In such cases, the alt attribute may be omitted, but the alt 
> attribute should be included, with a useful value, if at all 
> possible. If an image is a key part of the content, the alt attribute 
> must not be specified with an empty value.

The following is my proposed replacement:

---

In some cases, the image is a critical part of the content.  This could 
be the case, for instance, in a photo gallery, a series of screenshots, 
or a comic strip.  In such cases, authors should provide suitable 
alternate text.  When suitable alternate text is available, it must be 
included in the alt attribute.

Example:
<figure>
<legend>Cat Proximity</legend>
<img src="http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/cat_proximity.png"
      alt="As a human approaches a cat, intelligence decreases and the
           inanity of statements increases. e.g. A man says to a cat:
           'You're a kitty!'">
      title="Yes you are!  And you're sitting there!  Hi, kitty!"
</figure>

However, even if an authoring tool allows for alternate text to be 
provided, there are some cases where authors will still fail to do so. 
For example, where a user has uploaded 3000 photos from a vacation trip, 
without providing any descriptions of the images.  In those cases, the 
alt attribute must be omitted; it must not be specified with an empty value.

[insert remaining content, beginning with the photo sharing and 
screenshot examples]

---

The spec could possibly also include a requirement for authoring tools 
to provide a mechanism for the author to provide alt text, perhaps with 
a reference to the ATAG spec [2].

[1] http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#alt
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-AUTOOLS/#gl-prewritten-descs

-- 
Lachlan Hunt
http://lachy.id.au/
Received on Sunday, 26 August 2007 06:10:47 UTC

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