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Request for review of alt and alt value for authoring or publishing tools

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 12:47:14 -0500
Message-ID: <1c8dbcaa0804151047v36406ec7q37e3709b435f63e7@mail.gmail.com>
To: Jutta.treviranus@utoronto.ca, jimallan@tsbvi.edu, jan.richards@utoronto.ca, shadi@w3.org, Alfred.S.Gilman@ieee.org, wai-xtech@w3.org, wai-liaison@w3.org, cooper@w3.org
Cc: public-html@w3.org

As PFWG is aware [1], the HTML 5 working group is questioning and
debating the need for the alt attribute on "critical content". In
particular one case in the HTML 5 Draft states:

"In certain rare cases, the image is simply a critical part of the
content, and there might even be no alternative text available. This
could be the case, for instance, in a photo gallery, where a user has
uploaded 3000 photos from a vacation trip, without providing any
descriptions of the images. The images are the whole point of the
pages containing them. In such cases, the alt attribute may be
omitted, but the alt attribute should be included, with a useful
value, if at all possible. If an image is a key part of the content,
the alt attribute must not be specified with an empty value."

All of the following have been discussed as potential solutions to
this issue. Our question is, what should an authoring or publishing
tool insert, in a case where no alt has been provided by the author,
but the image is known to be "critical content"?

a. No alt attribute provided as stated in the current draft <img
src="vexed.jpg">

b. An alt attribute with some type of standardized reserved value to
indicate that the image is "critical content" but the author has not
supplied a text alternative. (example value for the purposes of
illustration only) <img src="vexed.jpg" alt="?">or <img
src="vexed.jpg" alt="_none">

c. An attribute separate from the alt that serves to indicate that the
image is "critical content", but no text alternative has been
provided. <img src="vexed.jpg" alt="" noalt> or <img src="vexed.jpg"
noalt>

d. A null alt <img src="vexed.jpg" alt="">

e. Further potential solutions are listed at:
http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/IssueAltAttribute#head-27468e7ee9afd1f9e07186c8d74f0b0168b3975a

The issue is detailed at:
http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/IssueAltAttribute

A recent related email thread from the HTML WG list:
Re: several messages about alt
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Apr/0322.html

Your expert review and advice regarding this edge-case scenario, as
well as your ideas for other solutions would be indispensable to
HTML5.

Thank you.

Best Regards,
HTML Working Group Members:
Laura Carlson
Steve Faulkner
Joshue O Connor
Leif Halvard Silli
Philip TAYLOR

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Feb/0082.html

-- 
Laura L. Carlson
Received on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 17:47:53 UTC

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