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

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2008 14:18:03 -0500
Message-ID: <47FFB96B.3040303@mit.edu>
To: Laurens Holst <lholst@students.cs.uu.nl>
CC: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>

Laurens Holst wrote:
> I do not think the distinction between ‘irrelevant image’ and ‘no 
> alternate text available’ that you provide is very valuable to the 
> end-user

It's not valuable as of yesterday, yes.

The difference tomorrow is a relevant image with no alternate text available can 
be run through an image-analysis library that will try to figure out what's 
shown and dynamically generate alt text.

Of course at that point it would well behoove people posting images to use just 
such a library.  But the thing is, software is updated a lot more often than 
content.  Once you post an image with an alt attribute, that's how it stays, 
forever.  So if the alt text is being auto-generated via image analysis, it 
makes sense to do it with the most advanced image analysis software.  All else 
being equal, this probably means doing it as late as possible in calendar time.

If you require all images to have alt="", the UA ends up having to guess whether 
alt="" really means "not important" or whether it should go ahead and synthesize 
a description.  This might be solvable, but it's a harder problem than just 
analyzing an image: it involves analyzing how the image interacts with the 
content surrounding it.

Received on Friday, 11 April 2008 19:18:53 UTC

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