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Re: Use-case for where alt text would be truly unavailable

From: Dr. Olaf Hoffmann <Dr.O.Hoffmann@gmx.de>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 10:59:47 +0100
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <200804161159.47400.Dr.O.Hoffmann@gmx.de>

I think these are more examples for poorly designed photo albums, if the image
author cannot add the value of the alt attribute manually.

But if we compare it with the situation with more advanced elements with
fallback content like object, there is not even the possibility to skip 
something like the alt attribute. If in the cascade of object elements
with alternatives there is no final text content in an object, the referenced
image (or in general object) has to be assumed to be decorative only in
the same way as an image with alt="". And there is no way to say that
there is no text alternative available, either there is something or it is
decorative.
This happens in real life very often (not just) with flash content in HTML4 - 
typically either there is no alternative to 'classid="CLSID: ...' or
the alternative is an in HTML4 unspecified embed element 
referencing the same flash document. Finally all these authors 
therefore seem to have no problem to assume, that all those 
flash-documents are decoration only, even it the complete HTML page
is almost empty without it.

Therefore the complete discussion to remove the requirement for
the alt attribute of this bad designed old img element sounds a little
bit strange, because a similar behaviour for elements with a more
advanced design like object, audio, video, canvas is not even 
possible - there is only the choice between empty and not empty.
And if it is empty, this is a clear message to the user about the
importance of the referenced document.

Currently, if think, if there is no alt attribute provided for img,
typically user agents provide the URI or the name of the referenced
document. I cannot see, that this gives in general some more
useful information about the meaning of the img, if the author
of the document thinks, that it is not possible to provide a text
alternative for the image.
Received on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 10:05:29 GMT

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