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Re: Flickr and alt

From: Gez Lemon <gez.lemon@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 01:38:13 +0100
Message-ID: <e2a28a920808181738p60b7cf5eoa9db8089b5d1670c@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Cc: wai-xtech@w3.org, public-html@w3.org

Hi Patrick,

> The problem, it seems, is that the pain (failed validation?) won't
> automatically result in the correct behaviour (providing relevant @alt), but
> only in the minimum effort required to make the pain go away (putting
> *anything* into @alt, even adding a null @alt, just to get the thumbs-up
> from the validator).

That's a good point, but it would be tragic if conformance
requirements were lowered to satisfy validators. Maybe the
conversation should be based around conformance, rather than
validation. Validators are easily fooled, and when they're the sole
method of quality assurance, aiming to please validators is likely to
result in a poorer experience - particularly from an accessibility
viewpoint, as the nature of ensuring content is suitable for humans
means that very little can be automated.

If you do bulk uploads on Flickr intended for your friends and loved
ones, it's reasonable that you might decide to add text alternatives
later, or maybe never get around to adding them. But do you think the
resulting content should be considered compliant? Without text
alternatives, the content will not be perceivable for some people. It
seems reasonable to me that appropriate alternative text is required
for conformance. Lowering conformance requirements seems a dangerous
route, as not only does that lock out people that cannot readily
change an aspect about themselves to be able to perceive the content,
but it's also a route that is open to abuse.

Why is it so important that inaccessible content should be considered
compliant? Why not allow these edge cases to be considered
non-compliant, and have authoring tools encourage authors to author
accessible content? If an author chooses not to provide text
alternatives because they're writing for themselves, close friends and
relatives, that's fine; but lowering conformance requirements in order
to declare a structure that is incomplete as compliant doesn't seem
reasonable.

Cheers,

Gez


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Received on Tuesday, 19 August 2008 00:38:48 UTC

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