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Re: there are markup options [was: Re: img/alt summary attempt]

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 21:17:39 +0000 (UTC)
To: Jan Richards <jan.richards@utoronto.ca>
Cc: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>, Jim Jewett <jimjjewett@gmail.com>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, public html for all <list@html4all.org>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0804152115100.29828@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Tue, 15 Apr 2008, Jan Richards wrote:
> 
> I like how your message cuts to the point.
> 
> If I may, I would like to replace "is important" with "CONVEYS 
> INFORMATION", as in:
> 
> (1) Image DOES NOT CONVEY INFORMATION, alternative text is available. (alt="")
> (2) Image CONVEYS INFORMATION, alternative text is available. (alt="...")
> 
> Now, in my opinion, a missing "alt" attribute actually represents:
> 
> (3-REWORDED) Image MAY OR MAY NOT CONVEY INFORMATION and alternative 
> text is not available.

The case of "image does not convey information and alternative text is not 
available" is non-conforming according to the current spec. I was only 
listing the conforming cases.


> Now, I think there is a fourth state that I see use in representing:
> 
> (4-NEW) A tool (CMS, etc.) knows that the image CONVEYS INFORMATION (e.g.
> someone uploaded it from their camera, so it's probably not a blank
> placeholder), but alternative text is not available.

That's what I meant by case 3.


> That said, I'm not sure how (4) should be represented (e.g., some have 
> suggested something like alt="_none").

In the current spec, omitting alt="" altogether is how you represent this 
case.

Note that we are only talking about conforming documents. In 
non-conforming documents, all bets are off -- authors could say 
alt="_none" for decorative images, alt="" for images that convey critical 
information, alt="Save" for buttons that actually delete data, who knows.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 21:18:26 UTC

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