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Re: validity and other important things

From: Dave Singer <singer@apple.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2008 10:34:42 -0700
Message-Id: <p06240817c4254fc83274@[17.202.35.52]>
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>

At 7:57  -0400 11/04/08, David Poehlman wrote:
>It's a reasonable approach but I'm not sure it should be designed into spec.

and as a point of principal here, it seems kinda backward.  On 
questions of validity, we would surely want the output of *automated* 
HTML production to be 100% valid, yet in some sense allow people to 
exercise their judgment.

  In this case, we absolutely want people hand-writing HTML to provide 
alt, whereas we recognize that automated tools may not be able to.

I gave an anecdote before about an installer program that insisted on 
text strings to describe optional installs.  Many, many packages came 
configured offering, say "the frotz option" and if I asked for the 
"alt" I would get the text "this installs the frotz option".  If the 
installer *knew* that there was no explanation, it might be able to 
say "this installs a background process with root privilege, and a 
plug-in to the mail program" and I might be a little more informed.

Similarly, a web agent given an image with no alt might be able to 
indicate the size of the picture, and there is plenty of evidence to 
suggest that in time it could do image analysis and work out that 
there is a person, it's a landscape, and so on.  If the alt text is 
provided but worthless, it would obscure this capability.

I agree that there is a world of difference between alt='', which 
says "I know there is nothing useful to say about this" and no alt, 
which says "I don't know what I can usefully say about this".

just 2 cents...
-- 
David Singer
Apple/QuickTime
Received on Friday, 11 April 2008 17:37:01 UTC

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