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Images/ALT and document flow

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 12:00:54 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199801231700.MAA06510@access5.digex.net>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
to follow up on what Ian B. Jacobs said:

> 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).

The idea of access principles in priority order as the structure
of an introduction sounds very attractive.

Once you get into the body, there are too many axes to the
domain for any tree to feel 100% comfortable.

> 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

I like your general concept rather much.  I don't think that your
example lives up to the general concept.  You see, "alternative
content" is a "how to implement," and not an issue.  Navigability
is an issue, completeness is an issue.  Alternative content has
roles serving both of these issues.  But navigability is a higher
priority issue than completeness.

The first rule is that for any _active_ element in the document,
the user must understand what that active element is going to do
before they activate it, whether they are accessing images or
not.  This cuts across anchor text and anchor images and the
text associated with anchor images [ALT, TITLE, ...].

It does not hurt to reiterate these basic User Interface rules:
  You have to be able to keep track of where you are.
  You have to be able to go where you want.
  The system response to what you do must be in line with
	what you expected.

An anchor image which is naked of any textual explanation breaks
this basic formula, and the website is unusable (without
accessing the images).  I think authors can get and will care
about that.

Received on Friday, 23 January 1998 12:01:16 UTC

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