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Re: Another view of alt optionality

From: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
Date: Wed, 7 May 2008 16:38:20 -0400
Message-ID: <e9dffd640805071338i768904do8ef17841808080c4@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd)" <P.Taylor@rhul.ac.uk>
Cc: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>

On Wed, May 7, 2008 at 2:07 PM, Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd)
<P.Taylor@rhul.ac.uk> wrote:
>
>
>  Mark Baker wrote:
>
>  > I just added this to the Wiki page on "alt"[1];
>  >
>  > The primary purpose of a markup language specification like HTML is
>  > that it be able to be used to construct a document with a specific
>  > meaning as determined by a publisher, and to permit a consumer to
>  > reconstruct that meaning when in receipt of the document.  Whether a
>  > given document uses alt text or not matters not to that purpose.
>
>  Can you please explain that last observation ?  If, as an unsighted
>  user (for example), I am unable to reconstruct the meaning of
>  a given document because a part of that meaning lies in images
>  that are inaccessible to me, and if -- had the producer added
>  appropriate ALT text -- I would have been able to reconstruct
>  the meaning of the document, then surely it matters a great
>  deal that such a document cannot be reconstructed solely because
>  the producer thereof failed to include appropriate ALT text,
>  does it not ?

What you're talking about there is, IMO, a disconnect between the user
and the user agent, not the user and the publisher.  Consider that, at
some hopefully not too far off time in the future, a tool might be
created which accepts an image and outputs descriptive text (ala ESP
Game).  Had the user agent been equipped with such a tool, then
there'd be no disconnect... or at least the disconnect would be
minimized, as text can never convey all the information contained
within an image (not even with a thousand words 8-).

Mark.
Received on Wednesday, 7 May 2008 20:38:59 UTC

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