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Re: Mandatory and Important

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 22:39:25 -0500
Message-ID: <1c8dbcaa0808222039i47d4053cu94a5a98b82cad6af@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Doug Schepers" <schepers@w3.org>
Cc: "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>, "W3C WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>, wai-liaison@w3.org, w3c-wai-pf@w3.org

Hi Doug,

> You quoted me, but left out the most important part of my email: the
> proposal.  I'll include it here for this thread:

I did link to your full proposal [1] in the original message. But I thank you very much, for quoting that passage specifically.

> So, you see, I'm not saying that @alt should not be flagged in a
> validator.  Rather, I'm suggesting that it be flagged as something
> *other than* a validity or well-formedness error.

Okay, I think I understand.  This is similar to Jason White's idea last May [2], in response to the first Draft of ACTION-54  [3] , ISSUE 31 to "draft text for HTML 5 spec to require producers/authors to include @alt on img elements".  Since then a group of us have worked on second [4] and third drafts [5].

> It seems disingenuous to suggest that I stated otherwise, or that I
> was trying to obfuscate the issue.  Also, please don't categorize my
> suggestion as being for anything other than the benefit of
> accessibility (such as business cases or profit), as it was very
> clearly intended explicitly for the sole purpose of a validator
> explaining not only what the problem with such a document would be,
> but the rationale for flagging the problem.

I sincerely apologize. I very am sorry if I misinterpreted your message. It's subject line "Optional But Important" is what drew my attention. I disagree with that premise. Alt IMHO alt should be mandatory and is important. 

Again, from an architectural point of view, the structure of an image isn't complete without alternate text.

Omit the src attribute and sighted users have no content.
Omit the alternate text and users with disabilities have no content.

Currently the alt attribute is the PRIMARY method of supplying content to users with disabilities. Yes, HTML5 may another methods. One suggestion as noted in the Wiki (John Foliot's idea) [1] is:

Explicitly note and provide as many other ways of providing alt text as possible. Having *any* of the methods below of expanding upon the visual-only content present would thus render the <img> element conformant. Any other HTML 5 implementation of <img> which lacks *any* of the provided means of "equivalent alternatives" be non-conformant, and further suggest that this result with the most drastic of consequences: image non-rendering. (Give out more rope, but increase the risk of hanging oneself). These (and perhaps other) means/tools at their disposal, would cover the end (human) author or at the "program" level (WYSIWYG/file upload site/etc.) scenarios.

*@alt and/or @longdesc (if longdesc is put into the draft)
*@alt and/or @legend
*@alt and/or @id
*@alt and/or @figure
*@alt and/or @caption
*@alt and/or (ARIA Variants suggested)
*@alt and/or (suggested reserved values)
*@alt and/or (open to further suggestions) 

> (As a side note, please stop including my email in the CC list for
> this thread.  I honestly don't need 4 copies of each email.  When you
> feel the need to draw someone's attention to an email to a list, it's
> sufficient to use BCC so they don't get perma-added to the thread.)

Will do. Thanks. I'm glad you told me. I my email client doesn't do that. 

Best Regards,
Laura

[1] Doug's full message:
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Aug/0500.html
[2] Jason White's idea:
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008May/0249.html
[3] Action 54: First Draft:
http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/Action54AltAttribute
[4] Action 54: Second Draft:
http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/Action54AltAttributeSecondDraft
[5] Action 54: Third Draft takes a minimalist approach. Use case examples are left to WAI. It would let the domain experts handle their respective domains.
http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/Action54AltAttributeThirdDraft
[6] John Foliot's proposal:
http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/IssueAltAttribute#line-44
Received on Saturday, 23 August 2008 03:40:04 UTC

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