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Re: Clarification of case where 'there simply is no text that can do justice to an image'

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2008 09:10:19 +0000 (UTC)
To: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Cc: W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0808230654580.14795@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Sat, 16 Aug 2008, Steven Faulkner wrote:
>
> The current HTML5 spec contiains this expalnation and example of a 
> conforming alt text [1]:
> 
> "Sometimes there simply is no text that can do justice to an image. For 
> example, there is little that can be said to usefully describe a 
> Rorschach inkblot test.
> 
> <figure>
> <img src="/commons/a/a7/Rorschach1.jpg" alt="{inkblot test}">
> <legend>A black outline of the first of the ten cards
> in the Rorschach inkblot test.</legend>
> </figure>"
> 
> 
> In light of the example in the spec, is the following conforming to 
> HTML5 or not?
> 
> <figure>
> <img src="/commons/a/a7/Rorschach1.jpg" alt="a black vertically
> symmetrical shape, which contains 4 small white areas and 9 smaller
> black blotches seperated from the main body of the shape.">
> <legend>A black outline of the first of the ten cards
> in the Rorschach inkblot test.</legend>
> </figure>

While I think that describing a Rorschach inkblot, even for the purposes 
of the alt="" attribute, is an act with such irony that I would personally 
not think it appropriate, I could see an argument that would convincingly 
suggest that the above is valid, so I've changed the spec to in fact 
require a description of some sort for such images.

In fact, on the advice of Ben in an off-list e-mail, I have split the "key 
content" section into three subsections to make it clearer that there are 
three different levels here; images that must be given full replacement 
text (such as photos on a blog), images that somewhat defy descripton but 
must nonetheless be described (inkblot tests, fractals), and images that 
should be described but for which the HTML generator might simply not have 
any means to describe the image (blind photographers, CGI scripts dealing 
with unannotated images, Webcams, etc).

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Saturday, 23 August 2008 09:10:40 UTC

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