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

Re: fear of "invisible metadata"

From: Craig Francis <craig@synergycms.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2007 14:11:48 +0100
Message-Id: <F19D0E52-5EB5-4081-98DD-88ACD0A39236@synergycms.com>
Cc: HTML Working Group <public-html@w3.org>
To: Maurice Carey <maurice@thymeonline.com>

On 21 Jun 2007, at 21:40, Maurice Carey wrote:
> On 6/19/07 2:32 PM, "Craig Francis" <craig@synergycms.com> wrote:
>> On 19 Jun 2007, at 18:30, Geoffrey Sneddon wrote:
>>> Yes, but the majority of cases in the wild @alt="" is not used
>>> because the image is semantically devoid of meaning, but rather
>>> because the author hasn't given any alternative.
>> Personally I think an empty alt attribute indicates that the author
>> has declared that the image has no alternative... rather than just
>> forgetting to add one.
>> I prefer validators to complain when my <img> tags don't have an alt
>> attribute, as it makes me check to see if the image needs one.
>> Craig
> I'd prefer that the alt tag not be required at all.
> In an html5 world...
> <figure>
>   <img>
>   <caption>
> </figure>
> ... Not need for alt there, the vision impaired user would know  
> that the
> figure is of a....whatever the captions says.

Ok, very good point... I have done a few galleries, and had to use an  
empty @alt for the <img>, as the same text is repeated below the  
image in a <span> - inline element because the whole thing is wrapped  
in an <a>.

Perhaps the spec can say the alt is optional, but accessibility  
checkers (WCAG?) can run tests that will fail a document if an image  
had no @alt or <caption> assigned to it... this will help authors  
detect images they have forgotten to mark up.

As a side note, there is a lovely browser, iCab, that has a nice  
feature... when you load a page which has an <img> without a width/ 
height... it will purposely get the image dimensions very wrong on  
page load... which helps in testing... but a second later is re-draws  
them to the right size (for normal users)... I find that quite  
helpful, and it reminds me to add those attributes, which can be used  
by browsers on a slow internet connections, to get the page layout  
about right before the images have loaded.

On 22 Jun 2007, at 12:25, Sander Tekelenburg wrote:
> Each form of communication lends itself better for expressing  
> certain things
> than another. That's why it is often quite difficult to come up  
> with good ALT
> text.

In which case the alt can still be provided, but not make it required.
Received on Saturday, 23 June 2007 13:19:22 UTC

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