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Re: New issue: IMG section of HTML5 draft contradicts WCAG 1 & WCAG 2 (draft)

From: Laurens Holst <lholst@students.cs.uu.nl>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2008 13:39:37 +0200
Message-ID: <47FF4DF9.4010101@students.cs.uu.nl>
To: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
CC: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>, wai-xtech@w3.org, Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@ieee.org>, public html for all <list@html4all.org>
Henri Sivonen schreef:
>
> On Apr 11, 2008, at 11:23, Steven Faulkner wrote:
>> 5.  Conclusion:  barring the introduction of new, good
>> reasons for a change, the failure of the HTML5 draft to make
>> @alt on <img> an across-the-board requirement (even if sometimes
>> it has the value of &quot;&quot;) is a bug.
>
> Hixie's email on the matter and my previous email(s) on the matter 
> gave a reason:
>
> A piece of software gets images from somewhere and puts them 
> automatically out on the Web. What should the developer of that piece 
> of software program it to do when an image arrives from whatever pipe 
> they arrive from without alternative text? How do you require a 
> program to emit something it simply doesn't have without faking it 
> with junk?
>
> (Note: Saying that the program should block until human intervention 
> won't be a viable approach. A product that did that would only be 
> supplanted by products that don't. Saying that such products should be 
> programmed to output invalid HTML isn't a viable answer, either. 
> Saying that the program should emit alt='' would lose information 
> about lack of data vs. marking the image as decorative.)
>
> Should I conclude that you don't count the reason as a good reason? 

I assume that the WCAG wants the alt attribute to be required, so that 
validators must throw an error for it and force web page authors to 
explicitly consider the attribute and a proper value for it.

Without error message, page authors will not consider the alt attribute, 
even when there is no technical reason why their images can’t contain it 
(as the spec mentions in its prose).

I have to say I agree with this reasoning.

By specifying an alt="" attribute, the use case that you mention is 
still served. At least the page author will have considered the 
attribute, and the choice to not provide one was a conscious choice. I 
do not think the distinction between ‘irrelevant image’ and ‘no 
alternate text available’ that you provide is very valuable to the 
end-user, and especially not worth the trade-off.

~Grauw

-- 
Ushiko-san! Kimi wa doushite, Ushiko-san nan da!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Laurens Holst, student, university of Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Website: www.grauw.nl. Backbase employee; www.backbase.com.



Received on Friday, 11 April 2008 11:41:45 GMT

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