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Re: the market hasn't spoken - it hasn't bothered to listened [was Re: fear of "invisible metadata"]

From: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 07:36:19 -0500
Message-Id: <9A7268C0-B286-481C-918E-D68513A5A274@robburns.com>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
To: Thomas Broyer <t.broyer@gmail.com>

On Jun 26, 2007, at 3:32 AM, Thomas Broyer wrote:

> 2007/6/26, Robert Burns:
>> <object
>>         data="foo.mpeg"
>>         alt="My kitten fluffy playing with yarn."
>>         title="fluffy playing with yarn"
>>   > Fluffy, still only a few inches tall, is playing with a red ball
>> of yarn that has to 3 times her size. She has just fallen on her back
>> and it looks like the ball of yarn is crushing her. But she's really
>> just having fun. </object>
> What would be the difference between @title and @alt then?
> --  
> Thomas Broyer

I'm not sure. I included title because it may suffice for what @alt  
is currently used for for the elements with full fallback content.  
I'm raising this because I don't know the answer. I'd like to hear  
from others with more experience with accessibility UAs and authoring  
and such. Again, my suggestion is that we need to add a <still> (or  
otherwise named element) to include with the other new embedded  
content elements that handles fallback properly for still images. By  
adding such an element we can then deprecate or drop (whatever term  
we want to use) <img> and <embed> in favor of <object>, <still> and  
the newly added embedded content elements. Along with dropping those  
@alt and @longdesc would also be dropped, because they would no  
longer be necessary for the other more modern embedded content elements.

Again, this means that <embed> and <img> would continue to work in  
the existing browsers and other UAs, but we would be marking a future  
path for UAs and authors to use new and better embedded content  
elements that better handle fallback content. The only question that  
remains in my mind is whether any need for the @alt attribute is  
completely eliminated. Part of the reason @alt is necessary is  
because @longdesc (which was added to deal with the <img> element's  
inability to handle fallback content within its tags).

So perhaps @title deals adequately with any abbreviated / auxiliary /  
alternate text for all the embedded content elements that provide  
rich fallback content. I'd like to hear what others think about the  

My example was meant to draw some attention to that. I also drafted  
it to demonstrate how the fallback content would probably not be  
appropriate for a <caption> or <legend> element. However, we should  
keep in mind that there are several subtly  different mechanisms for  
all sorts of text related to non-text media: the <legend> / <caption>  
element, the @title attribute, the @alt attribute the element's  
fallback contents and the description and keywords metadata from the  
media files.

These sources of information do not (and should not) duplicate one  
another. Fallback content (as in the example) is not the same thing  
that belongs in the <caption> / <legend>. However, the @title, @alt  
and <caption> / <legend> may be very closely related and potentially  
redundant (considering such we should be warn authors to avoided such  

Take care,
Received on Tuesday, 26 June 2007 12:36:31 UTC

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