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Re: [html4all] HTML5 Alternative Text, and Authoring Tools

From: Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd) <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2008 08:38:13 +0100
Message-ID: <482BE865.9050304@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
To: Gez Lemon <gez.lemon@gmail.com>
CC: Dave Singer <singer@apple.com>, HTML Working Group <public-html@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>

I feel I have had so much ALT discussion recently that
I am up to my ears, and if I take much more I will drown,
but two recent messages contained so much good sense and
were expressed in such a tolerant, constructive, manner
that I feel more than a little buoyed up with hope once
again : here Gez Lemon wrote:

> If an authoring tool isn't provided anything that can be used as
> alternative text, then the authoring tool certainly should not try and
> guess what the alternative should be, as only the content author could
> know with any certainty what a suitable replacement for an image could
> be. The most sensible thing to do in this scenario would be to not
> include an alt attribute at all, as it hasn't been provided by the
> author.
> 
>>From what I understand, at this point, my opinion is completely
> aligned with members from the HTML5 community. The difference in our
> opinions is that although I would suggest the authoring tool has done
> the right thing for this particular scenario, the HTML5 working group
> want the resulting output to be considered to be in compliance with
> the specification. I disagree with this viewpoint, as the resulting
> structure is inconceivable to some users with visual impairments and
> cognitive disabilities, in a way that the resulting structure would be
> inconceivable to sighted users if the src attribute wasn't provided in
> a browser that renders images. That is the structure is inaccessible,
> and couldn't possibly be considered valid.

which seems to me to hit the nail on the head.  ALT is mandatory,
but if a user refuses to provide ALT text, then the editing tool
is correct to emit INVALID HTML (and, presumably, to warn the user
that this regrettable behaviour has been necessary).

Philip TAYLOR.
Received on Thursday, 15 May 2008 07:39:06 UTC

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