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Re: The alt="" attribute

From: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 16:35:48 +0200
Message-ID: <48B6B7C4.40103@lachy.id.au>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: public-html@w3.org

Ian Hickson wrote:
> So. We need another option.
> 
> Are there cases where the image is lacking good alt text that wouldn't be 
> covered by one of the following?:
> 
>  - title="" attribute on the <img> itself
>  - <legend> of the <figure> that contains the <img>
>  - heading of the section that contains the <img>
> 
> F. We could say that for these "key content without alt text" cases, we 
> have the alt="" attribute omitted, but there must be at least one of the 
> above, and the first of the above that is present must include sufficient 
> information to orient the user.

The way this is currently worded in the spec, it is ambiguous.  Consider 
this recent article.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080827-open-market-video-drm-aims-to-let-1000-retailers-bloom.html

Just pretend for the sake of argument that the page was authored using 
HTML5 and that an <article> element surrounded the article.  So it 
contains an image of a presentation slide, without an alt attribute, and 
the section does have a heading.  (For the benefit of those here who 
can't see the image, the slide is actually briefly described in the last 
paragraph of the article).  The other images used as links at the end of 
the article for "Digg This", "Discuss" and "Print". do have alt text. 
So this case would meet the condition in the spect that states:

"The img element is the only img  element without an alt attribute in 
its section, and its section has an associated heading."

Is this case supposed to be considered conforming?  I would argue that 
it shouldn't be considered conforming because the article heading 
doesn't relate directly to the image, unlike, for example, the heading 
of an image on a Flickr photo page.

The spec could possilbly be made slight clearer if it actually said 
something like what was proposed above: "[the heading] must include 
sufficient information to orient the user.", or perhaps something even 
clearer if possible.

-- 
Lachlan Hunt - Opera Software
http://lachy.id.au/
http://www.opera.com/
Received on Thursday, 28 August 2008 14:36:29 UTC

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