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

Re: [html4all] Request for review of alt and alt value for authoring or publishing tools

From: Harry Loots <harry.loots@ieee.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 12:56:28 +0100
To: HTML4All <list@html4all.org>,HTML4All <list@html4all.org>,"Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>,"Joshue O Connor" <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>
CC: wai-liaison@w3.org,"'Tomas Caspers'" <tomas@tomascaspers.de>,wai-xtech@w3.org,public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <20080416115628.M11155@ieee.org>

On Wed, 16 Apr 2008 11:25:17 +0200, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
> (Leaving aside the question of validity and focusing on the effect 
> on  users) I am with Ian here. Adding magic values is likely to mess 
> up  existing workflows from user agents through to authoring tools,
> system  evaluation tools (the sort of thing that the people who 
> currently really  care about getting tehir HTML right actually use), 
> and even websites  explaining how to write good web pages. 

Are we saying that once the tool has been published it can not be changed to
allow for changes in the way the code is presented?


> Leaving out the alt attribute  where you don't know anything about what 
> would be a good value (whether  you are a second-rate tool that 
> never asked, or a lazy or second-rate  author that never bothere to 
> think about the answer - and I really do mean  that to sound at 
> least as judgemental as it does) is the simplest approach  to 
> allowing those who are doing a decent job to improve the web overall.

I cannot agree with this viewpoint: 
we share the viewpoint that where ALT has been provided it is assumed to have
been provided with good intentions, ie, to describe the image to users who may
benefit from ALT. On equal terms with this statement where developers
deliberately add ALT=" " let's assume for the moment that they do so in the
understanding that AT will ignore the image and skip to next segment of text
content.

Based on the above development practices, we have two scenarios:
If ALT is used as described above, users who read or hear the text alternative
to the visual content are presented with either the ALT description or nothing.

In the case where ALT has been ignored due to laziness, ignorance, or whatever
other reason, the same group of people described above may benefit if the UA
announces or inserts text to the effect 'ALT missing/omitted/not
supplied/AWOL' or whatever words we choose to tell the user the developer is
lazy, second rate or simply ignorant of their needs. If the words 'ALT not
supplied/whatever' is heard/appears, the user knows that an image appeared in
the content; they do not know if it has value, but at least they can ask
someone who can view or see the image if it contains information of relevance.
If ALT="" is used for this scenario then the user will not know there is an
image and will not be able to do anything about it. 

Regards
Harry
Received on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 12:25:36 GMT

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