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

Re: More about <alt>

From: Sander Tekelenburg <st@isoc.nl>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 13:01:29 +0200
Message-Id: <p06240692c30584443f68@[192.168.0.101]>
To: public-html@w3.org

At 01:07 -0400 UTC, on 2007-09-05, Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:

> if IMG is preserved as an empty container for "backwards compatibility",
> then it is ESSENTIAL that the alt and longdesc attributes be retained

Why exactly?

> [...] if IMG is deprecated, UAs will STILL
> have to support/enable exposure of alt

Indeed. As they need to support all (well, most) other pre-HTML5 content.

> and provide a configurable method
> for presentation to the user

I can't follow. To configure what?

> AND the replacement element or elements,
> MUST have a short descriptor and a long descriptor form

Why exactly?

[...]

> look at it this way, and i do mean visualize this:
>
> you can get a site preview through a MouseOver or other hover event on
> ask.com, right?

Sorry, I don't understand what you mean. A "site preview" of what, by
hovering over what? (Maybe this is some UA-specific feauture of ask.com? I've
never used that site before.)

> you can get a thumbnail of an image in a file listing,
> right?

Same thing. I can't follow.

> you can get an explanation of that weird icon in the tabpanel
> through a hover event

Sorry, more of the same confusion again :) What "tabpanel"?

FWIW, the only mouse hover effects I get on ask.com is when I do an image
search, for each found image there is a "source" link. If I mouse hover over
that, I get a CSS-dependant tooltip simulation. (I'm guessing it says
"source" -- they're forcing me to consume a dutch version of the site.)

[...]

> users don't always need or want to have everything explained in detail,
> but if i land, as i did in an earlier thread, on a short descriptor
> such as:
>
> "Snapshot of a KDE Desktop"
>
> might i not want a description of a KDE desktop's default GUI "look
> and feel" so that i can communicate with sighted technical support, let
> alone colleagues and assistive technology?

Understood. But why exactly does that mean that HTML must define a
distinction between short and long descriptions? In what sense does the
example I posted in
<http://www.w3.org/mid/p06240688c303bb702138@%5B192.168.0.101%5D>, using two
<alt> elements for the same <img>, one providing a short and the other a long
description, each indicated as such by the author through @title, not suffice?

I'm not convinced it is not needed. But I think we should be sure that it is
needed.

I don't think the mere fact that both @alt and @longdesc exist demonstrates
that need. After all, the distinction exists *only* for <img>. Not for
<object>. So until now, HTML didn't claim that, as a principle, it is
necessary to semantically indicate short and long equivalents. It only
defined that distinction for <img>. Not for <applet>, not for <area>, not for
<object>, not for <frame>, not for <iframe>, which each have only either @alt
or @longdesc in HTML 4.01.

[...]

> sometimes a glance or a signpost is sufficient, and sometimes -- more
> times than most would admit/think -- it is necessary to know in detail
> the contents of a graphical component of a document instance; it's
> like driving: sometimes the signs are sufficient, sometimes you need
> a map, and sometimes, you just need to pull over and ask someone...

Completeley understood. And actually, I think <alt> could serve this better,
because it would allow for more than just 1 short and 1 long textual
equivalent. It would allow for an audio equivalent as well. And a tabular
one. Etc.


-- 
Sander Tekelenburg
The Web Repair Initiative: <http://webrepair.org/>
Received on Thursday, 6 September 2007 11:06:12 UTC

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