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

From: Jim Jewett <jimjjewett@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 21:05:44 -0400
Message-ID: <fb6fbf560804151805t35bd246fi60956f01219f1c58@mail.gmail.com>
To: ian@hixie.ch, foliot@wats.ca, wai-xtech@w3.org, wai-liaison@w3.org, public-html@w3.org, list@html4all.org

Ian's point was that people won't really supply an alt -- even John
Foliot seemed to have forgotten.

John's point was that he didn't forget -- the tool didn't *allow* him
to enter an alt.  Taking out the alt requirement will remove any
pressure on flikr to fix this.  On the other hand,

(1)  if flikr had to publish "alt=_notsupplied" to claim validity,
that might annoy the coders enough that they would create at least an
optional way to supply alt text.

And this leads in to the main reasons why "alt=_magicvalue" is
different from an omitted alt.

(2)  There are already tons of pages (including this one) which
(wrongly) use alt="", and tons of other pages that (wrongly, for now)
omit the alt.  There always will be, because these are good
programmer-language defaults.

There are not many pages saying "alt=_decorative" or
"alt=_notsupplied", and those values aren't likely to be supplied by
accident -- so they have a chance of remaining honest.

(3)  There could be more than one (or even two) magic tokens.  When
I'm browsing without images, I often want to make a special request
for the critical images.  I wouldn't grab _decorative.  I wouldn't
grab most images with a good alt.  I wouldn't want to grab images that
are just a "better" representation of the summary/description/caption.

I would want to grab the main content.  __notsupplied tells me that
(unless the CMS is really lousy) the image is something a user
supplied specific to this page.  In this case, that would be the main
image and the teaser from the slideshow -- and two is less than the
number of images without an alt, according to someone else's count.

-jJ
Received on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 01:06:18 GMT

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