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Re: HTML Action Item 54 - ...draft text for HTML 5 spec to require producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.

From: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Tue, 13 May 2008 15:42:13 +0000
Message-Id: <5FF9BD24-2F81-472C-800A-0EE4748ED55E@robburns.com>
To: "public-html@w3.org Group" <public-html@w3.org>
Cc: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, wai-liaison@w3.org

Hi Andrew,

I have to wonder whether you're just trying to undermine the work of  
this WG the way you've responded to my post. You say here in this  
message fully quoted below  (emphasis added)::

> I couldn't see it; and from what you've written below, I'm not sure  
> that
> you read what I was asking.


and then:
> The question DID NOT MENTION ALT.  It was: How does a blind  
> photographer
> mark up a photo, which is known to be critical content, but which she
> herself cannot describe?


But here is the original question I responded to (emphasis added):

> I would be happy if someone (or several someones) in favour of  
> making ALT MANDATORY in all cases would answer very simply: How does  
> a blind photographer mark up a photo, which is known to be critical  
> content, but which she herself cannot describe?

So in what sense did your question not mention the alt attribute. The  
very preface was about making the alt attribute mandatory. If you  
disregard the preface, then the question is off-topic for the thread,  
the list and the workgroup.

Take care,
Rob


On May 13, 2008, at 3:25 PM, Andrew Sidwell wrote:

> Robert J Burns wrote:
>> On May 13, 2008, at 2:51 PM, Andrew Sidwell wrote:
>>> Robert J Burns wrote:
>>>> On May 13, 2008, at 12:53 PM, Andrew Sidwell wrote:
>
> ...
>> My response directly answers your question, but you're not reading  
>> the
>> response carefully.
>
> I couldn't see it; and from what you've written below, I'm not sure  
> that
> you read what I was asking.
>
>>>> So to summarize critical content text alternative is not a
>>>> description of an image. It's the necessarily brief text that would
>>>> be required for a user to comprehend the document in the absence of
>>>> the image.
>>>
>>> Whilst all of this was interesting to read, it was also irrelevant  
>>> to
>>> the question.  A page whose purpose is to display photographs cannot
>>> be comprehended in any meaningful way in the absence of the image in
>>> the case of the question I posed above (that is, where the person
>>> creating the page to show the image may herself have only the  
>>> vaguest
>>> of notions of what the image is).
>>
>> It directly responds to your question. None of what you're describing
>> belongs in the alt attribute according to the newly drafted section.
>
> I'm not quite sure what I was describing that should belong in the alt
> attribute.  I spent some time making the point that the alt attribute
> was not the interesting question behind the present debate, in fact.
>
>> While adding descriptions of photographs can make a document more
>> accessible and more usable in general, it does not belong in the alt
>> attribute (according to the newly proposed language). Instead it  
>> belongs
>> in longdesc referenced document fragment or in the image files  
>> metadata
>> or an aria-described-by referenced document fragment (none of which
>> would be required by the proposed img element language)
>>
>>>>> Is it:
>>>>> <img src="photo">
>>>>> <img src="photo" alt="Photo">
>>>>> <img src="photo" alt="Exposure 2s, f/12">
>>>>> or something else?
>>>> Something else (a photo will rarely require anything but null alt):
>>>> <img src='photo1' alt='' longdesc='descriptions#photo1' >
>>>
>>> This merely moves the burden from alt text to a longdesc.  The
>>> question still stands.
>>
>> No, the question does not still stand. The longdesc attribute is not
>> required. The alt attribute (according to the proposed section) is
>> required. Once we've moved the burden to the longdesc attribute your
>> very question evaporates.
>
> The question did not mention alt.  It was: How does a blind  
> photographer
> mark up a photo, which is known to be critical content, but which she
> herself cannot describe?
>
> I can only assume that your answer would be something like
>
>  <!DOCTYPE html>
>  <title>Photo: 13th MAy 2008</title>
>
>  <header>
>    <h1>Photo Gallery</h1>
>    <h2>Photo taken on 13th May 2008</h3>
>  </header>
>
>  <img src="photo" alt=''>
>  <p><a href="prev">Previous photo</a>, <a href="next">Next photo</a>
>
> where the only difference from my example is that you have included
> alt=''.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.
>
>>> I would suggest that
>>> <!DOCTYPE html>
>>> <title>
>>>
>>> <header>
>>>  <h1>Photo Gallery</h1>
>>>  <h2>Photo taken on 13th May 2008</h3>
>>> </header>
>>>
>>> <img src="photo">
>>> <p><a href="prev">Previous photo</a>, <a href="next">Next photo</a>
>>>
>>> would not be a bad way of answering the question.  Maybe include a
>>> paragraph straight after the image saying "1/2000s exposure at f/ 
>>> 1.8".
>>>
>>> How would you propose to do it differently?
>>>
>>> (Consider also the case of a webcam mounted on a bag that took  
>>> photos
>>> and uploaded them via a 3G connection every five minutes.  A similar
>>> situation applies there.)
>>
>> Again, the question doesn't apply to the new img element language.
>
> The question was "How does a blind photographer mark up a photo, which
> is known to be critical content, but which she herself cannot
> describe?".  I am not sure in what way that question doesn't apply to
> the new img element language-- could you please elaborate?  As far  
> as I
> can see, the question is a perfectly valid one regardless of what
> specification you refer to.
>
>> I understand your question to be about the burden of requiring alt.
>
> Then you misunderstand it.
>
>> Now
>> you're discussing the markup and text content surrounding an image,  
>> none
>> of which would be required. So we're on to a new question: and one
>> completely irrelevant to action item 54 (and onto topics that simply
>> confuse the current discussion).
>
> I am trying to shine a light on the issues underlying the debate on
> whether the absence of alt should be syntactically valid or not; I am
> presenting a use-case in the hope that someone has a good answer.  In
> particular, I am asking those who want to require alt to be  
> mandatory in
> all cases would write instead of the above-quoted example, in the hope
> that some concrete discussion might move the conversation on somewhat.
>
> <snip>
>
> Andrew Sidwell
Received on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 15:43:34 UTC

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