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Re: Mandatory and Important

From: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 18:45:11 +0300
Message-Id: <F4653565-B704-4D4F-95D5-DB860364699D@robburns.com>
To: Dave Singer <singer@apple.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>

Hi Dave,

On Aug 22, 2008, at 4:37 PM, Dave Singer wrote:

> At 14:15  +0300 22/08/08, Robert J Burns wrote:
>> Hi Dave,
>> On Aug 22, 2008, at 2:05 PM, Dave Singer wrote:
>>>> Hi Dave,
>>>> I think it is not a difficult issue. HTML5 can simply say:
>>>> * the IMG element MUST include an alt attribute
>>>> * authors MUST include suitable alt text for each image embedded
>>>> with the IMG element
>>>> * authors SHOULD follow WCAG guidelines in composing suitable alt  
>>>> text
>>>> * authoring tools SHOULD follow ATAG in assisting authors
>>>> providing suitable alt text and MAY automatically generate default
>>>> alt text in cases where it is possible (e.g., the replacement of
>>>> an image of richly styled text by plain text)
>>>> * authoring tools MUST NOT add any text that is a placeholder for
>>>> alt text (e.g., "this is an image")
>>>> I don't see the problem then. We have provided suitable guidance
>>>> to authoring tools and authors.
>>> As provided, the guidance is fine.  But thisdoesn't seem to address
>>> the question that was central to starting the debate:  what to do
>>> when alt text is not available at the time of HTML generation?  My
>>> perception is that quite a few people believe or hope that this
>>> situation doesn't arise, but it does, and it's currently
>>> 'polluting' the web;  your second bullet is not always achievable.
>>> I'm unclear as to what you believe should happen in this case;  I
>>> assume you're as unhappy as I am with alt="", missing alt, or
>>> alt="useless filler text".
>> I really don't see that as a central question for this WG (other
>> than how it is addressed it what I just wrote). From what I just
>> wrote the answer is, If the suitable alt text is unavailable the
>> authoring tool should make sure the alt attribute is alt=''.
>> Similarly, the authoring tool (in the case of Flickr) might add
>> role='photo'. The dilemma is solved (at least as far as we HTML5
>> spec writers are concerned).
> But now we're back where we started.  We want UAs to be able to
> interpret alt="" as meaning images that are decorative etc., not
> needing AT.  This is conflating cases, again.

No, we're not back to where we started. The role keywords distinguish  
the role of the media rather than relying on a null attribute, missing  
attributes or curly braces. So <img role='decor' alt='' > is a  
decorative image, while <img role='photo' alt='' > is a photograph  
with a missing alt value.

Take care,
Received on Friday, 22 August 2008 15:46:11 UTC

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