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Re: Specific points of controversy relating to alt text (ISSUE-31, ISSUE-80)

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 7 Aug 2010 18:40:52 -0500
Message-ID: <AANLkTi=Q+H=61TKpe+uL0t5L9C9=uZUTDph6btpXpDHv@mail.gmail.com>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, "Vlad Alexander\"" <vlad.alexander@xstandard.com>
Hi Maciej,

> Thanks for all the references.

You are welcome.

> It's not clear to me from these if you agree
> with the suggested possible compromises in my original email, or at least
> could live with them. Could you help me out by clarifying that?

I can live with any of the Change Proposals that I drafted. They all
have the commonality of  disallowing <img> to be valid with the
generator mechanism, email exception, and title attribute as well as
requiring the structural Integrity of the <img> element. Some of your
suggestions are incorporated into those proposals. The various
proposals should allow a good assortment for working group members to
select from. The closest one to what you describe in your email is:
http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20100707

Ian's proposal to "change nothing" breaks the structural integrity of
the <img> element through the generated mechanism, and the private
communication/email exception. This break is an inequity that allows
content not perceivable to some people. A text alternative is as
necessary to the schema technically as is src.
http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20090126#HTML5_Should_Require_Structural_Integrity_for_the__.3Cimg.3E_Element

Removing the requirement for text alternatives does not improve user
experience, nor help educate developers.
http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20100707#HTML5_Should_Help_Facilitate_Accessibility_Awareness_and_Education

Best Regards,
Laura

> On Aug 7, 2010, at 5:51 AM, Laura Carlson wrote:
>
>> Hello Everyone,
>>
>> Maciej wrote:
>>
>>> 1) Should specific alt requirements for authors be in the HTML5 spec or
>>> in a
>>> separate draft?
>>
>> The "HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives"
>> document [1] is much more consistent with W3C accessibility
>> guidelines, developed over many years, than some advice currently in
>> the HTML 5 draft. In some cases Ian's document follows his own
>> personal accessibility rules based on his perspective of accessibility
>> and provides text alternative advice that directly conflicts with WAI.
>> Some things are very wrong, for instance his CAPTCHA [2] and Webcam
>> [3] advice. Steve has corrected the HTML Spec's mistakes [4] [5]  and
>> follows WAI in the "HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text
>> alternatives" doc.
>>
>>> ** Query for the Working Group: can we compromise, and agree to have alt
>>> information *both* in a detailed standalone document *and* in the HTML5
>>> spec? None of the arguments presented seem to require the information to
>>> be
>>> exclusively in one form or the other.
>>
>> For this to work, both documents would need to be in harmony and not
>> contradict each other. The question is: Can harmony that be achieved?
>> If the answer is yes, do we have the time? Doing it on a bug-by-bug
>> basis and escalating the WONTFIX bugs to issues may be time consuming
>> and could hold up last call.
>>
>>> 2) Should we keep the email / private communications exemption to the alt
>>> requirement?
>>
>>> ** Query for the Working Group: can we agree to remove this exemption, as
>>> largely superseded by the generator exemption?
>>
>> Arguments to remove exemption:
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20090126#HTML5_Should_Not_Make_Rules_Beyond_Its_Scope
>>
>>> 3) Should we keep, remove or modify the generator exemption to the alt
>>> requirement?
>>
>>> ** Query for the Working Group: can we compromise on a per-element
>>> generator
>>> exemption mechanism, rather than outright removal or retention of the
>>> current per-document mechanism?
>>
>> Arguments to remove exemption:
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20090126#HTML5_Should_Not_Facilitate_the_Creation_of_Inaccessible_Content
>>
>> Arguments for a missing attribute:
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/IssueAltAttribute#Missing_Attribute
>>
>> The solution that WAI CG said that they would not object to for edge
>> cases where page producers don't know what the image is, a "missing"
>> attribute.
>> http://www.w3.org/2009/06/Text-Alternatives-in-HTML5
>>
>> A start of a change proposal for a missing attribute.
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/User:Lcarlson/ImgElement
>> I would need help to get that into shape if people are supportive. I
>> have asked previously to no avail.
>>
>>> 5) Should we add aria-labeledby to the list of alt exemptions?
>>
>> Arguments for aria-labeledby:
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20090126#aria-labelledby_Attribute
>>
>>> ** Query for the Working Group: can we set aside the call to add
>>> aria-labeledby to the list of exemptions, particularly given a favorable
>>> outcome on (2) and (3)?
>>
>>> 6) Should we add role=presentation to the list of alt exemptions?
>>
>> Arguments for role="presentation":
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20090126#role.3D.22presentation.22_Attribute
>>
>>> 7) Should we remove the title attribute exemption to the alt requirement?
>>
>> Arguments to remove exemption:
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20090126#HTML5_Should_Not_Provide_Inaccessible_Text_Alternative_Features
>>
>> Most of the discussion surrounding title seems to have taken place in
>> 2007:
>> http://w3.markmail.org/search/?q=alt+title+list%3Aorg.w3.public-html
>>
>>> 8) Should the semantic definition of the img element be changed, from
>>> saying
>>> it represents "an image", to saying that it represents "content that can
>>> be
>>> rendered visually (as an image) and textually"?
>>>
>>> - There hasn't been a lot of discussion on this point.
>>> - Input from the WG is welcome. Is this one of the biggest points of
>>> concern?
>>> - This particular point, taken alone, doesn't seem to have material
>>> impact
>>> on what UAs or conformance checkers will do.
>>>
>>> Perhaps we can drop this mostly-editorial change, if we can get closer to
>>> consensus on the more technical points above.
>>
>> I brought forth Vlad Alexander's ideas in the
>> "Require alt. Correct Definition to Provide Equality. Replace Guidance
>> for Conformance Checkers." Proposal.
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20100504
>>
>> Today I asked on his blog and have copied Vlad on this email to
>> consider contributing to the deliberations here to advance ideas that
>> he feels strongly about.
>> http://rebuildingtheweb.com/en/no-alt-text-for-photo-sharing-sites/#c20100807033213
>>
>> Best Regards,
>> Laura
>>
>> [1] http://dev.w3.org/html5/alt-techniques/
>> [2] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=9216
>> [3] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=9215
>> [4] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=9169
>> [5] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=9174
>>
>> Related References:
>>
>> Detailed Three Year History of the alt Issue
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20090126#Detailed_Three_Year_History_of_the_Issue
>>
>> "WCAG WG is chartered to set Accessibility guidelines and HTML WG is
>> not; so HTML5 should be careful to supply features that support WCAG
>> and describe their use in ways that conform to WCAG." - Al Gilman on
>> behalf of PFWG.
>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Feb/0082.html
>>
>> The text alternative Change Proposals that I have drafted are:
>>
>> 1. Correct and Improve <img> Conformance Checker Guidance
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20090126
>> This one incorporates WAI CG's advice. And is a HTML Accessibility
>> Task Force Recommendation. The proposal:
>> * Disallows <img> to be valid with the generator mechanism, email
>> exception, and title attribute.
>> * Allows <img> to be valid with aria-labelledby or the role attribute
>> with a value of "presentation".
>> http://www.w3.org/2009/06/Text-Alternatives-in-HTML5
>>
>> 2. Require alt. Correct Definition to Provide Equality. Replace
>> Guidance for Conformance Checkers. The proposal:
>> * Replaces the definition of the img element with language that makes
>> alt and src attributes equivalent.
>> * Has guidance for conformance checkers guidance to flag ant image
>> that lacks an alt attribute as an error.
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20100504
>> This is the one where I have attempted to address Vlad Alexander concerns.
>> http://rebuildingtheweb.com/en/correct-img-element-definition/
>> He has no faith W3C HTML WG or WHATWG, so I submitted this proposal on
>> his behalf.
>> http://rebuildingtheweb.com/en/correct-img-element-definition/#c20100219084034
>>
>> 3. Require alt HTML4. Replace img Definition and Guidance for
>> Conformance Checkers.
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/index.php?title=ChangeProposals/ImgElement20100510
>> In this one I tried to address Jonas and T.V Raman's concerns.
>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010May/0186.html
>>
>> 4. Correct and Improve <img> Conformance Checker Guidance. I drafted
>> this proposal at the chairs request, because the accessibility
>> task force did not provide rationale for or role="presentation" in
>> their proposal (but now it does, thanks to Steve). This proposal:
>> *Disallows <img> to be valid with the generator mechanism, email
>> exception, and title attribute.
>> *Allows <img> to be valid with aria-labelledby.
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20100706
>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-a11y/2010Jul/0022.html
>>
>> 5. Correct <img> Conformance Checker Guidance. I drafted this proposal
>> at the Chairs request because the accessibility task force did not
>> have rationale for aria-labelledby or role="presentation" in their
>> proposal (but now it does, thanks to Steve). This proposal disallows
>> <img> to be valid with the generator mechanism, email exception, and
>> title attribute.
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20100707
>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-a11y/2010Jul/0022.html
>>
>> --
>> Laura L. Carlson
>>
>> On 8/6/10, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com> wrote:
>>> Hello HTML Working Group,
>>>
>>> Studying the Change Proposals for issues 31 and 80, it seems to me we can
>>> break down this issue into a number of sub-issues. It also seems to me
>>> that
>>> we may be able to achieve consensus on at least some of the specific
>>> sub-points, based on recent discussion. I'd like to especially commend
>>> Jonas
>>> and Laura for engaging in constructive discussion over the past week or
>>> two,
>>> as well as everyone else who contributed to the conversation.
>>>
>>> I believe we may be able to achieve consensus on some specific
>>> sub-issues,
>>> leaving us with a smaller subset that may need to be resolved via survey.
>>> For each sub-issue I have noted my observation. I'd like to hear from the
>>> Working Group on these points.
>>>
>>> 1) Should specific alt requirements for authors be in the HTML5 spec or
>>> in a
>>> separate draft?
>>>
>>> - Good arguments were presented for having a standalone document giving a
>>> rich, detailed treatment of text equivalents. An initial version has been
>>> published as a First Public Working Draft by the Working Group. It was
>>> argued that this could raise visibility.
>>> - Good arguments were also presented for having information about
>>> specific
>>> cases for alt in the HTML5 draft itself. It was argued that this would
>>> help
>>> with awareness for authors who may not have thought about accessibility
>>> up
>>> front.
>>>
>>> ** Query for the Working Group: can we compromise, and agree to have alt
>>> information *both* in a detailed standalone document *and* in the HTML5
>>> spec? None of the arguments presented seem to require the information to
>>> be
>>> exclusively in one form or the other.
>>>
>>>
>>> 2) Should we keep the email / private communications exemption to the alt
>>> requirement?
>>>
>>> - Some have said this waters down the alt requirement too much.
>>> - Some have argued that, in the situations where this seems more helpful,
>>> the generator exception would apply anyway, and the remaining cases are
>>> too
>>> narrow to be worth a special validator setting.
>>> - It has been pointed out that the intended recipients of a document are
>>> a
>>> subjective factor, one that cannot be determined from looking at the
>>> document alone, and one that may change over time.
>>> - It has been argued that a manual validator switch is a confusing way to
>>> serve a particular authoring use case.
>>>
>>> ** Query for the Working Group: can we agree to remove this exemption, as
>>> largely superseded by the generator exemption?
>>>
>>>
>>> 3) Should we keep, remove or modify the generator exemption to the alt
>>> requirement?
>>>
>>> - Some have argued that this exemption should be removed entirely, since
>>> it
>>> removes the alt requirement too much.
>>> - Others argue that, without this exemption, content generators will be
>>> forced to choose between producing nonconforming documents, or adding
>>> bogus
>>> alt text.
>>> - Still others suggest that a per-element mechanism may be more
>>> acceptable
>>> than a global setting to enable the generator exemption (e.g. @missing or
>>> @noalt attribute).
>>>
>>> I would like to add a thought of my own: there is a technical benefit to
>>> a
>>> per-element mechanism rather than a global one. Imagine the case of a
>>> template that includes some content images, but also has slots that may
>>> contain unknown, user-generated images. Perhaps it is a "stationery"
>>> template for email, or a blog theme. It would be very useful to validate
>>> the
>>> original template contents fully applying an alt requirement, but to
>>> apply
>>> the generator exemption only to the unknown user-provided content that is
>>> inserted as a template. This is better served with a per-element
>>> mechanism
>>> instead of a per-document mechanism.
>>>
>>> ** Query for the Working Group: can we compromise on a per-element
>>> generator
>>> exemption mechanism, rather than outright removal or retention of the
>>> current per-document mechanism?
>>>
>>>
>>> 4) Should we remove the figure/figcaption exemption to the alt
>>> requirement?
>>>
>>> - One Change Proposal effectively suggests this removal, by proposing
>>> that
>>> there be *no* exemptions.
>>> - However, there does not seem to be a great deal of enthusiasm for
>>> removing
>>> this exemption, and even the advocates of this removal have mixed
>>> feelings.
>>>
>>> ** Query for the Working Group: can we set aside the call to remove the
>>> figcaption exemption, particularly given a favorable outcome on (2) and
>>> (3)?
>>>
>>> 5) Should we add aria-labeledby to the list of alt exemptions?
>>>
>>> - Some in the accessibility community favor this exemption, to enable use
>>> of
>>> ARIA without alt.
>>> - Others argue that this would be a layering violation.
>>> - An argument was also made that this would interfere with user agents
>>> such
>>> as text-only browsers that cannot display images, but are not assistive
>>> technologies as such.
>>> - There is also a general desire to minimize the number of exceptions to
>>> the
>>> alt requirement, to avoid watering it down. This would seem to argue
>>> against
>>> adding more exemptions.
>>> - It seems that, for many who advocate cleaning up alt, this particular
>>> change is a relatively minor part of their concerns, and not one of the
>>> key
>>> issues with the current spec.
>>>
>>> ** Query for the Working Group: can we set aside the call to add
>>> aria-labeledby to the list of exemptions, particularly given a favorable
>>> outcome on (2) and (3)?
>>>
>>>
>>> 6) Should we add role=presentation to the list of alt exemptions?
>>>
>>> - The arguments pro and con are much as for point (5).
>>>
>>> ** Query for the Working Group: can we set aside the call to add
>>> role=presentation to the list of exemptions, particularly given a
>>> favorable
>>> outcome on (2) and (3)?
>>>
>>>
>>> 7) Should we remove the title attribute exemption to the alt requirement?
>>>
>>> - There hasn't been a lot of discussion on this point.
>>> - Input from the WG is welcome. Is this one of the biggest points of
>>> concern?
>>>
>>> This is a point that we may not be able to resolve by consensus, even if
>>> we
>>> resolve the others.
>>>
>>>
>>> 8) Should the semantic definition of the img element be changed, from
>>> saying
>>> it represents "an image", to saying that it represents "content that can
>>> be
>>> rendered visually (as an image) and textually"?
>>>
>>> - There hasn't been a lot of discussion on this point.
>>> - Input from the WG is welcome. Is this one of the biggest points of
>>> concern?
>>> - This particular point, taken alone, doesn't seem to have material
>>> impact
>>> on what UAs or conformance checkers will do.
>>>
>>> Perhaps we can drop this mostly-editorial change, if we can get closer to
>>> consensus on the more technical points above.
>>>
>>>
>>> If any of these sub-issues leads to extended discussion, please consider
>>> forking a separate thread with a new subject line.
>>>
>>>
>>> Regards,
>>> Maciej

-- 
Laura L. Carlson
Received on Saturday, 7 August 2010 23:41:27 GMT

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