W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > June 2007

Re: fear of "invisible metadata"

From: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 10:13:33 +0100
Message-ID: <467B92BD.8000906@cfit.ie>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, public-html@w3.org

Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>> The problem that you seem be indicating is the difficulty in writing *good* alt text.
> 
> Not just "good", sometimes there's no alt text that could be added which would help accessibility, and yet it would be wrong to consider the image as purely decorative and semantically null. 
>That's all I'm saying. There should be a way to mark up an image as being meaningful but having no alternative text. 

Please forgive me if I have this wrong. What you seem to be saying is
that there is a 'third category". If so this is definitely a grey area.
I am very much of the old school of 'if it's useful describe it, if not
nullify it'. In order to apply this principle in the real world I would
still suggest nullifying the third category, even if its not strictly
correct to do so in practical terms however it is still probably useless
to most blind users, for example.

> There should be a way to mark up an image as being meaningful but having no alternative text. 

But currently the alt text is what you use to give the image meaning in
the first place? For blind users anyway. Unless you wish to use other
forms of say searchable meta data, but then you are back to the issue of
support by UA's etc and why you you would want to do this in the first
place?  I have to admit I am struggling a little in trying to see how
that idea is useful to anybody, in terms of front end user interaction
anyway. However I can see an application for machine readable images etc.

Also, if something has a meaning it has a meaning, it can't have half a
meaning etc. I guess I would look at this issue in a rather binary fashion.

Josh
Received on Friday, 22 June 2007 09:14:06 UTC

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