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Re: several messages relating to the alt="" attribute

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2008 00:30:22 +0200
Message-ID: <47FFE67E.4070403@malform.no>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
CC: "Dr. Olaf Hoffmann" <Dr.O.Hoffmann@gmx.de>, public-html@w3.org, Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>

Ian Hickson 2008-04-11 22.01:     
> On Fri, 11 Apr 2008, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>   
> I disagree that the AT reading the spec's example as "Card 1. A black 
> outline of the first of the ten cards in the Rorschach inkblot test." 
> would be better than it reading it as "(AT-specific cue that an unknown 
> image is present). A black outline of the first of the ten cards in the 
> Rorschach inkblot test."
>   

And I disagree with your evaluation here. Reading "Card 1. A black ..." 
is best.

In your reply to Steven [1], you presented this as the ideal usecase for 
alt text:

<img alt=Cat src=a> sat on <img alt=mat src=b>.

The good thing with this "Children's image book" example, is that it 
shows how important it is taking the entire context of the image into 
consideration. I tried to do that when I picked 'Card 1' as alt text. As 
outlined by the WCAG 2.0 guide that Steven pointed to [2]: Using ALT to 
add a label, to which the text in the context can be associated, is a 
one of the functionalities that ALT has.

> "Card 1" is not an alternative for Rorschach1.jpg, it's a title.
>
>    <figure>
>     <img title="Card 1" src=r1.jpg>
>     <legend>A black outline of the first of the ten cards
>     in the Rorschach inkblot test.</legend>
>    </figure>
>
> ...would be ok, the AT could render that as (where /.../ indicates an 
> AT-specific voice cue): "/Image with title: Card 1./ A black outline of 
> the first of the ten cards in the Rorschach inkblot test."
>
> The point being that the alt="" attributes indicates that the existence of 
> the image doesn't need to be conveyed to the user at all, but here we do 
> want to convey the presence of the image.
>   

Such rigid understanding of the title attribute is not well rooted in 
reality.

The text of @title and of the content (including alternative content) 
often plays the same role. In fact, that is how you have formulated the 
Automatic cross-referencing functionality, which <DFN> enables:  For an 
<abbr> (or a <span>, <i> etc) to create a cross-references to a <dfn> 
element, then EITHER the title of the <abbr> OR (if title is absent) the 
content of the <abbr> must match the  content or title of the <DFN> element.

Thus I think you are making far too much out of what is title and what 
is alt. There is no point in having title if there is no content. If 
there is no content, including alternative content, then you should 
instead skip the title and use the text as content instead, just as is 
the case for <ABBR> in connection with the automatic cross-referencing.

[1]http://www.w3.org/mid/Pine.LNX.4.62.0804111945240.7575@hixie.dreamhostps.com
[2]http://www.w3.org/TR/2007/WD-UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20-20071211/text-equiv-all.html
-- 
leif halvard silli
Received on Friday, 11 April 2008 22:31:03 UTC

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