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Re: Images/ALT

From: Ian B. Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 10:45:49 -0500
Message-ID: <34C8BB2D.CC5804F5@w3.org>
To: dd@w3.org
CC: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Daniel Dardailler wrote:
> I think we need to do two things regarding the Images section in the
> Page Author Guidelines:
> - separate image/ALT issues from image-map/object
>  ...
> The section is too large as it and it doesn't really talk about the
> issues with ALT value. Plus the sensitive map issues are specific.

The current organization of the guidelines roughly mirrors the
of the HTML specification, and this approach certainly has
its advantages. But as I read the guidelines, a different organization
springs to mind, one that is supported by your comment: why not group
the guidelines by accessibility issues, not by HTML language topics.
The introduction I added touches on three issues:
how structure adds meaning, the importance of 
navigation, and the value of alternative content. There may be
others, but I extracted these from the guidelines.

While I'm not convinced that recasting the current guidelines
along these axes would make a huge difference
(the guidelines are already very helpful), readers might
appreciate the model (at least some readers, perhaps
less technical ones).
It might make sense to organize the author guidelines
according to accessibility issues and the checklist
according to HTML structures (as in the current version).

I'm tempted to push the abstractions as far as they'll go,
so, for instance, I could see the following organization
for alternative content (this is a rough sketch):

Issue: Alternative content
When appropriate:
   * Provide short descriptive text for every
     image, sound, video, script, or frame.
   * Provide long descriptions as well,
     particularly when the object in question
     is detailed.
   * Provide transcripts for audio and video.
   * Provide alternative pages for inaccessible pages.

How to implement:
   * Short description: "alt", "title", OBJECT
   * Long description: OBJECT, "longdesc", description links
   * Alternative pages: LINK element, description links

There is no mention of anything HTML-specific until
the implementation section. Thus, the guidelines
become applicable to other languages as well.


Ian Jacobs / 401 Second Ave. #19G / New York, NY 10010 USA
Tel/Fax: (212) 684-1814          Email: jacobs@w3.org
Received on Friday, 23 January 1998 10:46:26 UTC

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