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RE: Another summary of alt="" issues and why the spec says what it says

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 00:47:20 +0000 (UTC)
To: Jim Jewett <jimjjewett@gmail.com>
Cc: david.dailey@sru.edu, John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>, HTML4All <list@html4all.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, wai-xtech@w3.org, Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@ieee.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0804180045090.22086@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Thu, 17 Apr 2008, Jim Jewett wrote:
> > 
> > ... sometimes there simply is no alternative text available. Examples 
> > I can think of that have been mentioned so far include:
> > 
> >  * Images uploaded by a blind user before that user has had a chance 
> > to ask his friends to describe the images to him.
> 
> Unlabeled Photo 3, taken on 2008-04-17.

That would be a fine caption -- but as it should be visible to everyone, 
not just those who can't see the image, it doesn't consist of good 
alternative text (since if the alt attribute had this value, you'd be 
saying stuff twice for the users who use alt text, which is worse than 
saying it once).


> Or have the user supply something like "4th and Vine, last Tuesday, 
> camera pointed near Cindy's voice."

That would also be something you'd want all users to see.


> > * Images in a Web-based tool whose purpose it is to get authors to 
> > provide replacement text for those images.
> 
> Provide the context, so that the image can get a contextually 
> appropriate alt.  Maybe something like:
> 
> "Image in anchor to http://www.example.com.  Sentence before link. [img] 
> Sentence after link."

Again, you'd want that context for everyone, not just those who can't see 
the image.


> >  * Images uploaded automatically by a completely automated system, 
> > e.g. a Web cam, or Google's "street view" images.
> 
> "Street view, 4090 Denton St, Oct 6, 4:30 pm"

Again, that text (if available) should be made available to everyone, not 
just users of the alt attribute.


> > * Images uploaded "em masse" where the user does not have the 
> > resources to describe each one in turn.
> 
> "Horton's elephant chow shoot, roll 3, shot 16"

Same again.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Friday, 18 April 2008 00:48:03 UTC

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