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Optional But Important (was: alt attribute - a very simple proposal)

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 06:14:41 +0200
Message-ID: <48ACEBB1.7000500@w3.org>
To: Karl Dubost <karl@w3.org>
CC: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>

Hi, Karl-

On the whole, I like your idea.

I had some random thoughts I'm going to put out there.... sorry for the
sketchy email.

Karl Dubost wrote (on 8/19/08 9:45 AM):
> 1. I would just keep alt attribute requirements to the functional
> requirements, such as if images are not loaded the content of the alt
> attribute must be displayed.
> 2. The specific requirements on accessibility such as  the content of
> the alt attribute depending on the use cases should be entirely left to

It's really important for @alt to be included when it's appropriate, but
a "required" attribute connotes that an element cannot be minimally and
usefully processed without that attribute.  So, my opinion is that @alt
should not be required for validity or well-formedness.

However, @alt (and maybe some other attributes and elements) is so
important that it might be useful if there were a third class of
conformance: well-formedness, validity, and "semantic completeness".
So, an image without @alt would be well-formed, valid, but perhaps not
semantically complete.

A validator could advise on all three types, as Henri's takes a stab at
(nice work, Henri).

I don't know if this would require changes to the schema; if so, it
should be defined in the HTML WG, I think.... some sort of an "optional,
but important" category.

In a chat with MikeSmith, he pointed out that it is typically not the
role of a technical specification to define semantic completeness, but
if there is a technical requirement that needs to be put into the HTML
language or schema --some sort of an "optional, but important"
category-- (I'm not sure there is), then it should be done by the HTML
WG in consultation with the WAI WG.  I'm not sure there is such a
requirement, so it could also simply be defined by WAI.

-Doug Schepers
W3C Team Contact, WebApps, SVG, and CDF
Received on Thursday, 21 August 2008 04:15:17 UTC

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