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Re: Investigating the proposed alt attribute recommendations in HTML 5

From: Sander Tekelenburg <st@isoc.nl>
Date: Sat, 1 Sep 2007 17:34:18 +0200
Message-Id: <p0624065ec2ff31f680e8@[]>
To: public-html@w3.org

At 20:29 +0200 UTC, on 2007-08-31, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:

> On 2007-08-31 17:06:51 +0200 Sander Tekelenburg <st@isoc.nl>:
>> 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:

[... about the draft's "User agents must not present the contents of the alt
attribute in the same way as content of the title attribute."]

> it isn't told straight out that both TITLE and ALT must be available to the
> In fact, there is no place that outlines the relationship between TITLE and
>ALT, that I can see - except for this little snippet.

What relationship should be outlined then? I don't see any relationship
between @alt and @title at all. There is only the current problem that some
popular UAs use one and the same mechanism to present both @alt and @title,
thus feeding the misconception that there is a relationship.

(If anything, the spec may need to say "There is no relation between @title
and @alt", if we think that too many authors think there is.)


> some have the last days proposed that screenreaders can simply show the
>TITLE= when ALT= text is not available.

Ah. I missed that. Well, they're wrong :) (And frankly, as long as such
misconceptions don't (appear to be about to) end up in the spec, I don't see
much reason to be very worried by them ;))

> Jon Barnett even suggested that we could change the requiremenst to say
>that there must be either a TITLE or a ALT [1]:
>    [...]
> 	(And in turn, I wouldn't be opposed to requiring @title when @alt is
> 	omitted)

Yeah, I disagree with that. @title has nothing to do with equivalents.


> Joshue have been performing user tests. When we got the results, some were
>reacting by saying that Jaws should change its behaviour.

Did we get Joshue's test results already? I missed that :( Where can they be


>> Well actually I *do* think that UAs should make it possible for users to
>> consume multiple equivalents simultaneously.
> OK - then we are in agreement, I think. Except I would not say that it
>matters _that_ much whether it happens simultaneously or consecutively.

It depends on the situation. The option to listen to an audio file while
reading its transcript seems particularly useful to me.

> What matter is that the user can load the document, and opt to see the alt
>text for a certain image - either simultaneously or consecutively, without
>having to do extraordinary stuff - like turning off _all_ images, reloading
>the document etcetera etcetera.

Agreed 100%.


>> @title is for advisory information.
> For myself, 'context' helped me understand better. Title can tell about the
>authors intent. A good TITLE therefore, can help make the ALT text shorter.

Well, yes, but the same applies to all other content that relates to a
non-text object. There is nothing special about @title where equivalents are

Sander Tekelenburg
The Web Repair Initiative: <http://webrepair.org/>
Received on Saturday, 1 September 2007 15:38:29 UTC

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