W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > May 2008

Re: alt crazyness (Re: alt and authoring practices)

From: Olivier GENDRIN <olivier.gendrin@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 3 May 2008 11:48:26 +0200
Message-ID: <e2c275120805030248n447d0a4fm168d247f3984aa1e@mail.gmail.com>
To: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>

On Sat, May 3, 2008 at 11:11 AM, Smylers <Smylers@stripey.com> wrote:
>  Daniel Glazman writes:
>  > 1. making alt optional in HTML 5 is ridiculous
>
>  I don't think that's really an argument.  But if it is then I'm going to
>  rebut it with:
>
>   Making alt compulsory in all circumstances is ridiculous.
>
>  In particular, it doesn't make sense to mandate that the HTML author
>  provides alt text for an image she doesn't know what it is.

As it doesn't make sens to mandate the HTML author will respect the
rest of the spec... We could also make conformance optional, and in
fact, it is optional, as far UA have non-conformance handling process.

>  > 3. when I read something like "When the alt attribute is missing, the
>  >    image represents a key part of the content. Non-visual user agents
>  >    should apply image analysis heuristics to help the user make sense
>  >    of the image.", I can't believe my eyes...
>
>  Why?  That sounds entirely plausible to me.

Because if the author is not aware of @alt, he won't use it for
content images nor for illustration images. So the image is more
likely not to be a 'key part of the content'.

And if image analysis heuristics was performant, use of CAPTCHA will
be abandonned.

And the content would be tainted by the result of the image analysis.
A single image can have thousands of meanings, which one will choose
the image analysis? Will it have also to analyse the context to guess
a probable meaning ?

>  > 4. basing the spec'd definition of alt on common practice on the web
>  >    is crazy, absolutely crazy.
>
>  I agree that would be a poor choice, since alt is so often used badly
>  (or omitted when it should be provided).  But I don't think HTML 5 _is_
>  doing that.  Many existing web pages won't be valid HTML 5 specifically
>  because they _don't_ provide alt text.

Are we writing the spec to make 75% of the existing tagsoup webpage conformant ?

>  > This whole story is just unbelievable. And what's even more
>  > unbelievable is that most of you don't seem to see it.
>
>  I'm not sure that claims like that are helpful.  I would've expected alt
>  to be compulsory in HTML 5 until I read the spec and saw why it makes
>  sense to omit it in situations where it's impossible to know what it is,
>  and was persuaded that was the right thing to do.

Perhps we could have a look at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#conformance-claims ?




-- 
Olivier G.
http://www.lespacedunmatin.info/blog/
Received on Saturday, 3 May 2008 09:49:02 UTC

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