W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > April 2008

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

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 18:56:02 +0000 (UTC)
To: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Cc: 'Laura Carlson' <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>, wai-xtech@w3.org, wai-liaison@w3.org, public-html@w3.org, 'HTML4All' <list@html4all.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0804151851090.3690@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Tue, 15 Apr 2008, John Foliot wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > 
> > The only actual solution suggestion I see there is alt="1", alt="2", 
> > etc, but it is unclear how that would improve accessibility.
> 
> Any information is better than no information.  It puts the images in a 
> rudimentary context (this is image 4 of 9 on the page).

No it doesn't. It just says that the image represents the numner "1" (or 
whatever). The image would just get replaced by that number and you 
wouldn't know, unless you looked for it using your tool's UI, that there 
was any image there at all.


> A non-visual user still may have no idea what the image really is, but 
> can be told that image number 4 at the "photo-upload site" is of their 
> grandchild, and they could then copy the file to a flash drive, and have 
> the photo printed and framed for when visitors come over to visit (just 
> to make the scenario "real").

How is the image-enabled user supposed to figure out what the number is? 
They certainly aren't going to be looking for the alt="" text. Moat people 
aren't geeks.


> > Note that in many of these cases, putting the caption or other 
> > metadata in the alt="" attribute would be harmful as it would merely 
> > duplicate information already available elsewhere on the page. (I 
> > mention this merely because WCAG does currently suggest giving such 
> > text in some cases, but this doesn't help when such text is already 
> > available outside of the <img> element.)
> 
> <p class="Photo">
>   <span class="photo_container pc_m"><a
> href="/photos/18356286@N00/855450676/" title=""><img src="[path]"
> class="pc_img" height="180" width="240"></a></span></p>
> 
> <div class="Desc">
>   <div title="Click to edit" id="description_div855450676" style="width:
> 240px;">I snapped this photo the other day while walking around the
> Googleplex and saw Ian Hickson working at his desk.</div>
> 
> (slightly modified from an actual Flickr page)
> 
> ...is the image the Googleplex, or you working at your desk?

There's no way to know. My point is that this:

   <figure>
    <img src="a.jpeg">
    <legend>I snapped this photo the other day while walking around the
    Googleplex and saw Ian Hickson working at his desk.</legend>
   </figure>

...is significantly less annoying than this:

   <figure>
    <img src="a.jpeg" alt="I snapped this photo the other day while 
                           walking around the Googleplex and saw Ian 
                           Hickson working at his desk.">
    <legend>I snapped this photo the other day while walking around the
    Googleplex and saw Ian Hickson working at his desk.</legend>
   </figure>

...while providing no less information -- and arguably more, since in the 
second case the image-disabled user can't easily distinguish it from this 
third case:

   <figure>
    <p>I snapped this photo the other day while walking around the
    Googleplex and saw Ian Hickson working at his desk.</p>
    <legend>I snapped this photo the other day while walking around the
    Googleplex and saw Ian Hickson working at his desk.</legend>
   </figure>

...which, per spec, is semantically equivalent.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 18:57:38 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Wednesday, 9 May 2012 00:16:14 GMT