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: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 15:15:44 -0700
To: "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: <wai-xtech@w3.org>, <wai-liaison@w3.org>, <public-html@w3.org>, "'HTML4All'" <list@html4all.org>
Message-ID: <007f01c89f46$402a9a00$cf2a42ab@stanford.edu>

Ian Hickson wrote:
> 
> So let's look at a random image on Flickr:
> 
>    http://flickr.com/photos/18356286@N00/854359279/

So you feel compelled to make this personal then (and here I was being super
polite and reasonable all day, even paying you a compliment...).  You pick
on one photo of four in my public Flickr account that lacks a Flickr
"Description". It does have a "Note" however: "Bug meets knee at 90 miles an
hour.  Good thing for chaps...", which , if Flickr could get it right, could
possibly also serve as pseudo-alt text.   

Problem is, the Flickr interface sucks: there is no way to add appropriate
alternative text, whether I wanted to or not.  (alt="John's knee showing a
bruise" - see how everyone reading this now knows what that "random" image
is, even if they don't go to the URL - alt text is for everyone!)  However,
if the next generation authoring language *DID NOT ALLOW THIS*, then Flickr
and kin would wake up and smell the coffee, and allow the contributors the
ability to do the right thing.  Instead, *you* think that the status quo is
fine, and should be blessed.

> 
> We all agree that the authors should include alternative text.
> 
> Why don't you include alternative text for the images on your Flickr
> account? You could easily add a comment to each image describing the
> photo for the benefit of blind users. Why don't you?

As I said, only one of four does not have a "Description" (but it does have
a "Note"); they all have unique Titles, they all have been "tagged", Flickr
has no problem extracting all sorts of metadata about my camera, and the
date the picture was taken, etc. etc..  They allow me to place the photo on
a map, to send it to my friends, to add "Notes" and pretty much do
everything else outside of turning it into gift-wrap paper, yet they do not
allow me to add alternative text (which it should be stressed is different
than a description or a note anyway).

It is for this *VERY* reason that the next-gen language needs to be more
pro-active in the social engineering regard, to force (through the risk of
non-conformance) authoring tools to provide the ability for content authors
to do the right thing - something I cannot do at Flickr even if I wanted to.

> 
> And if _you_, an accessibility expert who cares about blind people,

FOR THE LAST FRIGGIN' TIME, ALT TEXT IS ABOUT MORE THAN BLIND
PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

(Statements like that just serve to illustrate how very little you really do
understand about web accessibility. Now you are just pissing me off)

> don't bother to include descriptions of photos you upload to Flickr,
> how can we possibly expect Random Joe User, who frankly _doesn't_
> care about blind users, to write descriptions for Flickr to include?

Which is also why Flickr should be given the tools for "error recovery"...
Hmmm alt="_not supplied" is possibly better than "...The empty string!
That's the single _worst_ value you can give in this case." - Ian Hickson

************

So in one email you've managed to make a passionate but polite open debate
personal, shown your lack of real understanding of web accessibility by
painting this as a "Blind user" issue, and defended my suggestion for
reserved values.  Way to go Ian.

I must now retire from this discussion, as Ian has managed to flame my anger
once again, despite my best efforts to be polite.  Maybe it's because he's
beginning to come to realize that *we* might be right...

JF
Received on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 22:16:23 UTC

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