W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org > November 1998

Research activities

From: Marja-Riitta Koivunen <marja@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 01 Nov 1998 22:56:33 +0200
Message-Id: <2.2.32.19981101205633.0073e248@localhost>
To: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org
>Al wrote
>
>>I see.  Well, only the scavenger is a topic fit for research.
>
>LRK::
>(This is changed subject from a thread on a tool that helps authors insert
>alt text vs. a tool that tries to automatically figure out the alt text.
>Al  called the latter the "scavenger".)

>Is a user interface and associated prompt that asks authors to insert ALT
>text  also a subject for research?   Al's remark seems to suggest that it
>isn't.
>
>I'd especially like to hear from human factors folks on this one.  
>
>Len

Are you thinking about a prompt in an authoring tool?

I think it is important to remember that the user (in this case the designer
should be in control). So forcing the designer to do something at a certain
moment, however important that is, might not be a very good idea. Designers
in the middle of thinking/doing something else might easily just put
something in the ALT text to be able to continue their current thought. And
when that something is there it later seems that that part was already done,
even though it was meant to be temporary.

I think there is research to be done in how to best do this thing starting
from the way designers design their pages. I'm not sure whose responsibility
is what part of the design. Some of this is or at least should be done by
the authoring tool companies.

The solutions based on the research could include things like clearly
highlighting the images with missing alt while the page is being designed,
having a link check tool similar to a spelling check tool in a document that
would point out all the problems with links when activated, having easy
access to a help text that could explain with examples what is a good way to
use alt text, having tools that show list of all the alt text strings in a
site without or with the corresponding images and without or with the
textual context so that it is easy to see wheather the ALT explanations make
sense etc.

There could also be databases with often used images that attach a default
ALT text to an image e.g. a logo automatically if not overridden, so that
the ALT would be more consistently used accross a site and the user wouldn't
have to worry about it.

These are just some examples that came to my mind. I'm not sure if I
answered your question.

  Marja
Received on Sunday, 1 November 1998 22:56:39 UTC

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