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Re: Information access for all : img, object and @alt

From: Dr. Olaf Hoffmann <Dr.O.Hoffmann@gmx.de>
Date: Wed, 7 May 2008 13:06:25 +0200
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <200805071306.25951.Dr.O.Hoffmann@gmx.de>

> Olivier GENDRIN wrote:
> >> I'm wondering why we have so passionate
> >> discussions about img and @alt, and none
> >> about the alternatives of object, audio, video.
>
> Dr. Olaf Hoffmann responded:
> > If the author provides no alternative content
> > within the element, it is simply decorative
>

Jim Jewett:
> In my experience, these are almost never decorative.  They may be
> advertisements rather than desired content, but they are almost never
> decorative.

But this seems to be the current concept of these elements - and
for a 'HyperText Markup Language' this concept is ok. Finally it
can be assumed by the reader to have at least the function of 
the content as some text explanation, because it is a language
to markup text primary.

On aspect of HTML5 seems to be, as some people already mentioned
in this list, that it is not intended to markup text anymore, this might
be the reason to add more possibilities to the old img element,
having now 'content with a meaning', 'decorative stuff' and
'author is incompetent to provide some text about the functionality
of the referenced document'. For object like elements, the last 
possibility is only available as prose description inside the element
itself in the document language (this would be possible too always
inside alt of img of course). 

>
> Claiming that these elements are decorative (when they aren't) is the
> same lie as emitting alt="" (empty string) on every image.  Reducing
> the frequency of that lie is the motivation for allowing @alt to be
> omitted.  (It is probably too late to reclaim empty or missing @alt as
> meaningful, but that is the reasoning behind the proposal.)

Well, currently it is not a lie, it is what authors can do, and they can
always write in the document language something like: 'no alternative
text available due to incompetence' ;o) 


>
> I think the reasons for focusing on img @alt are
>
> (1)  @alt is currently (HTML 4) required, and the HTML 5 draft is a
> regression.
>
> In theory, there are better ways to meet WCAG 1.1
> (http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/CR-WCAG20-20080430/#text-equiv), but those
> better ways are still theoretical until they get into the draft.
>
> (2)  In practice, images are more important.
>
> I generally browse with plugins off and the computer muted.  I almost
> never see useful fallbacks, but (for important content) there is
> usually at least an indication that a video is there, and often a
> short title or caption.  I usually decide the video isn't important
> enough to worry about.  The site as a whole is still usable without
> the multimedia.

That is similar to my approach, switching off scripting and plugins
typically. What I see is the content, not more or less. 
If the page is corrupted or damaged by the author, I assume
this is intended and no surprise, because it is already known,
that about 95% of the internet is invalid nonsense and it saves
a lot of time, if larger parts of it can be simply identified by
switching off scripting and plugins at the first visit of an unknown
project ;o)

>
> I used to browse with images off.  I gave up several years ago,
> because too many sites were utterly unusable.
>
> (3)  In theory, the alternative should be included directly in the
> audio or video file itself.  In practice, that isn't common, but
> motivated authors *could* do it.  Most image formats have no such
> standard fallback, and are sufficiently frozen that they won't grow
> one.
>

(4) the construction of img is outdated compared to object like elements,
but due to backwards compatibility issues of HTML5 it cannot be 
replaced by something more useful.
Received on Wednesday, 7 May 2008 11:08:53 GMT

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