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RE: current definition of <figure> in HTML is problematic

From: Gunderson, Jon R <jongund@illinois.edu>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2013 15:45:57 +0000
To: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <46739F12637CC94E82F75FF874E4A14715DD7B96@CITESMBX6.ad.uillinois.edu>

In the example you give of using figure element, what is the role of the "alt" attribute of the img element, should it be empty or should it reflect the content of the figcaption element?

<img src="image.png" alt="">

<figcaption>Image text equivalent</figcaption>


<img src="image.png" alt="Image text equivalent">

<figcaption>Image text equivalent</figcaption>


From: Steve Faulkner [mailto:faulkner.steve@gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2013 3:44 AM
Subject: current definition of <figure> in HTML is problematic

I think the current definition [4] of  the figure element leads to developers thinking that they cannot use it to caption an image or images that are ket parts of the content:

"The element can thus be used to annotate illustrations, diagrams, photos, code listings, etc, that are referred to from the main content of the document, but that could, without affecting the flow of the document, be moved away from that primary content, e.g. to the side of the page, to dedicated pages, or to an appendix."

For example, in this current discussion http://html5doctor.com/html5-simplequiz-7-pinterest/

developers are making statements such as [1]:

"I don't think figure is appropriate, because it's for things that can be taken out of flow and moved to an appendix, and the pins on the page are the whole point of the flow"

"<figure>s are intended to contain accessory content, not the main substance of the section in question. The spec says they can be moved away from the main flow of the document without affecting the document's meaning. I therefore don't think it's appropriate to use them for the main image and description here." [2]

And highly influential developers such as Jeremy Keith appear to agree [3]

There appears to be no good reason why a page containing an image that is the main content of the page (example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/46646759@N03/8408567494/in/explore-2013-01-23) should not be captioned using the following pattern, if fact it should be encouraged.


<figcaption> caption text</figcaption>

Suggest modifying the definition to remove the unecessary constraint on figure use.

[1] http://html5doctor.com/html5-simplequiz-7-pinterest/#comment-30251
[2] http://html5doctor.com/html5-simplequiz-7-pinterest/#comment-30262
[3] http://html5doctor.com/html5-simplequiz-7-pinterest/#comment-30255
[4] http://www.w3.org/html/wg/drafts/html/master/grouping-content.html#the-figure-element

with regards

Steve Faulkner
Technical Director - TPG

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Received on Thursday, 24 January 2013 15:46:32 UTC

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