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Re: Investigating the proposed alt attribute recommendations in HTML 5

From: David Poehlman <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 06:31:30 -0400
Message-ID: <000f01c7f45e$f44bf3f0$0601a8c0@HANDS>
To: "Henri Sivonen" <hsivonen@iki.fi>, "Steven Faulkner" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Cc: "HTMLWG" <public-html@w3.org>, <wai-xtech@w3.org>

What would you like jaws to do?  Jaws is not a voice browser.  It is a 
talking/brailling desktop environment and considering the liberties taken by 
may authors and authoring tools today, JAWS does quite well.

If your question is: "what woulmost popular also which if we are is a flawed 
approach since as I said with jaws, html5 should not focus on internet 
explorer but rather focus on what the community needs and how to provide it. 
If this is is the case, I am happy.  If we are focusing on IE, we need to 
back up and redirect.
d be the case visa vie speaking/brailling desktop environments if something 
new and different were introduced tohandle equivelent content?" The answer 
is that when you see it in the ua parsing engine, if it is propperly parced, 
we'll see it soon after in the screenless desktop environments.

The user agent is not mentioned here but it seems that we are talking about 
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Henri Sivonen" <hsivonen@iki.fi>
To: "Steven Faulkner" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Cc: "HTMLWG" <public-html@w3.org>; <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 4:23 AM
Subject: Re: Investigating the proposed alt attribute recommendations in 

On Aug 29, 2007, at 21:48, Steven Faulkner wrote:

> Investigating the proposed alt attribute recommendations in HTML 5 -
> http://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/articles/altinhtml5.html

Great work. Thank you. Based on your testing, it is clear that the
current state of JAWS is so bad that indeed any generated placeholder
alt text (even the empty string) is better than omitting it.

Back when I advocated for allowing the omission of the alt attribute
when the markup generator does not have a textual alternative
available, I based my argument on the behavior of Lynx (at least some
version with some settings). That behavior is that alt='' suppresses
the image altogether but the omission of the attribute causes a
bearable placeholder to be presented so that the user knows that
there's an image.

When making Web pages today, catering to today's JAWS, which
apparently has unbearable placeholders, makes sense. It doesn't
*necessarily* follow, though, that writing the spec to *require* (as
opposed to *allow*) catering for the flaws of today's version of JAWS
makes sense considering the entire life span of the spec.

What, in your opinion, is the outlook on JAWS ever getting fixed? (By
"fixed" I mean to have image place holders that give a better user
experience than alt="" or alt="image" or page content duplication in
the case of a non-decorative image.) Should this WG expect that 7
years from now, the market leader in voice browsing still hasn't
evolved to have better heuristics to such extent that J. Random Web
app developer can do better by putting together *some* generated alt
text (even alt='', alt='image' or duplicating other data already on
the page)?

(This is not a flame. This is an honest question. I admit that I
don't understand the competitive landscape of voice browsing. I'm in
awe that a product behaving like JAWS can be the market leader.)

Henri Sivonen
Received on Tuesday, 11 September 2007 10:58:42 UTC

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