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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: Mon, 9 Aug 2010 06:57:54 -0500
Message-ID: <AANLkTim8LWrtP02dp=+R50w0c=jmhdpdFcXLDJ6VHJS6@mail.gmail.com>
To: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Cc: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, HTMLwg WG <public-html@w3.org>
Hi Steve,

Maciej wrote:

> "can we compromise, and agree to have alt information *both* in a
> detailed standalone document *and* in the HTML5 spec?"

To have text alternative information in both documents and ensure that both...

* Are in harmony and do not contradict each other.
* Do not get out of sync.
* Are better in line with W3C accessibility guidelines, developed over
many years.

Here is an idea...

Use a server side include to include the contents of "HTML5:
Techniques for providing useful text alternatives" [1] replacing,
correcting, and improving 4.8.2.1.1 to 4.8.2.1.11 in the HTML spec
[2].

This would also reduce maintenance in the HTML spec.

Steve would you be agreeable to using a SSI?

Best Regards,
Laura

[1] http://dev.w3.org/html5/alt-techniques/
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/html5/embedded-content-1.html#the-img-element


>> On 7 August 2010 03:45, 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
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> with regards
>>
>> Steve Faulkner
>> Technical Director - TPG Europe
>> Director - Web Accessibility Tools Consortium
>>
>> www.paciellogroup.com | www.wat-c.org
>> Web Accessibility Toolbar -
>> http://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/wat-ie-about.html
>>
>>
>>
>
>
> --
> with regards
>
> Steve Faulkner
> Technical Director - TPG Europe
> Director - Web Accessibility Tools Consortium
>
> www.paciellogroup.com | www.wat-c.org
> Web Accessibility Toolbar -
> http://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/wat-ie-about.html

-- 
Laura L. Carlson
Received on Monday, 9 August 2010 11:58:28 GMT

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