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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@[192.168.0.101]>
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
>attribute.»

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
>ALT.

Indeed.

> 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
convey.

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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