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Re: Investigating the proposed alt attribute recommendations in HTML 5

From: Sander Tekelenburg <st@isoc.nl>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 17:06:51 +0200
Message-Id: <p06240655c2fddab68f2a@[]>
To: public-html@w3.org

At 13:39 +0200 UTC, on 2007-08-31, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:

>>> On 2007-08-30 18:06:26 +0200 Sander Tekelenburg <st@isoc.nl> wrote:
>>>> At 05:43 +0200 UTC, on 2007-08-30, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>>>> [...]
>>>>> The HTML5 draft says that TITLE and ALT should be showed in
>>>>> different ways.
>>>>> But perhaps is enough to say that they should be showed in different
>>>>> ways only if the element has both a TITLE and an ALT text?
>>>> I'd think that would result in inconsistent behaviour, which would
>>>> hurt usability.


> I was just reading the text of the draft: «User agents must not present the
>contents of the alt attribute in the same way as content of the title

Right. That text makes perfect sense to me. It intends to ensure that UAs
make it clear to the user which is the textual equivalent, and which the
advisory information.

> A reformulation could be that UAs must present ALT text, only not so that
>it confused with the TITLE text.

I don't understand. The current text (that you quoted) says exactly that.

> And since the spec is supposed ot be media independent, this goes for
>screeen readers as well.

Of course.

> (Hence, to say that screen readers can just use TITLE with ALT is not
>available is backwards.)

Indeed. But where does the spec say that?

All I know is that some UAs (Jaws) have been reported to be configurable
(might be the default; that hasn't been reported) to present the contents of
@title when @alt isn't available. We don't even know if in that case the UA
indicates that it is reading @title.

> The «side-by-side» here is valid about TITLE vs. ALT: _they_ must not be
>presented in such a way that you do not understnad what is TITLE and what is


> I do (of course) not think that ALT and the image should be presented side
>by side.

Well actually I *do* think that UAs should make it possible for users to
consume multiple equivalents simultaneously.  We've had the examples of
needing to read a transcript along with listening to audio; the example of
someone relying on screen magnification who wouldbe helped by being able to
consume both the image and the textual equivalent; and just the plain and
simple case where it is just not clear to anyone what the image is meant to

So IMO UAs must by default present only a single equivalent, but should make
it possible for users to consume multiple equivalents simultaneously. I
wouldn't mind at all if that sentence would be added to the spec.


> Btw, I think the proper description of TITLE is to say that it is about
>(describing the) _context_. A flag can have different meanings. But TITLE
>can advice us that alt="English" refers to TITLE="Nationality".

Sure. To the best of my knowledg that's what both HTML 4.01 and HTML5 say:
@title is for advisory information.

Sander Tekelenburg
The Web Repair Initiative: <http://webrepair.org/>
Received on Friday, 31 August 2007 15:13:49 UTC

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