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

Re: One more thought about requiring the alt to add to the pile

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 10:46:11 +0300
Cc: "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>, "W3C WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>, wai-liaison@w3.org
Message-Id: <AA71CC12-27E8-4A73-B508-24C1EC56A774@iki.fi>
To: "Steven Faulkner" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>

On Apr 18, 2008, at 08:38, Steven Faulkner wrote:

>  The spec[1] currently states:
> "In some cases, the image is a critical part of the content. .... In  
> a rare subset of these cases, there might be no alternative text  
> available. "
> Given that it is only in  very rare cases (a "rare subset" of "some  
> cases") where it is considered legitimate in the spec to leave out  
> the alt attribute.
> And these "rare subset" of cases are a clearly defined class of site  
> "a photo upload site".  Would it not be better to require/encourage  
> the relatively small number of AT vendors to provide a feature that  
> exposes images with alt="" (in case the photo site CMS has been  
> designed ot add alt="" automatically), that a user can enable when  
> he/she visits these sites?.

No. Now you are being so dogmatic about the alt attribute being there  
that you are willing to suggest modal UI to work around it. That's bad.

That you find a need for a mode demonstrates that there really is  
information loss when markup generators put alt='' on images whose  
presence should not be concealed.

VoiceOver deals with this reasonably when the author doesn't abuse the  
empty string alt. Of course, VoiceOver fails to inform the user when  
the author has used the empty string alt to remove the image from the  
non-visual presentation altogether. The whole point of not making the  
presence of alt a *syntactic* requirement is to avoid inducing such  
abuse that makes the page less understandable than in the case where  
VO announces the presence of the image even though it says nothing  
about its content.

Henri Sivonen
Received on Friday, 18 April 2008 07:49:08 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Thursday, 29 October 2015 10:15:32 UTC