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RE: [webwatch] Appropriate Alt Text

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2001 14:09:56 -0400
Message-Id: <200109241805.OAA11785666@smtp2.mail.iamworld.net>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
There is a thread currently going on on WebWatch concerning our old friend
ALT text.

I believe that this is a good example of the question of "what do we do about
conflicting interests of different user groups."  On the face of it there
appear to be a conflict between two user groups in this case, and the question
is not a make-or-break issue for either group.  It is a matter of
preference or
optimization on both sides of the dispute.

Maybe to learn how we deal with conflicts between different stakeholder
interests, we might work on this pilot project a bit and see what works here.

Try a picoElephant, first.


-- sample post from WebWatch thread.

At 01:06 PM 2001-09-24 , love26@gorge.net wrote:
>At 11:52 AM 9/24/01 -0500, Kelly Ford wrote:
>>they raised serious issues about alt="" for the sighted user who browses 
>>with image loading disabled.
>Only "serious" if they can't read the first column and are unable to figure 
>out that the second is just a shorthand pictorial for the second. Pedantics 

[Al, here.]

Before we dismiss the seriousness of any user's concerns we need to hear what
the concerns are.

My suspicion is the concern has to do with inappropriately used instances of
ALT equals quote quote.  If User Agents comply with the User Agent
Accessibility Guidelines from the W3C as stated in the Candidate
document, I don't think these users have a problem.  Users can chose by user
policy to believe the author that there is nothing informative in that
image or
to get a synthesized ALT that gives a clue to what went in that space.  You
always retrieve the image into an ALT-free space, too.  Or set the browser so
you are guaranteed a hint as to the contents of the image so as to review what
the Author regarded as non-informative.

This is a FAQ that comes back and back.  Where is the answer that these people
can buy?

I think that IF we can agree that the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines have
captured what the level of agreement should be across the behavior of user
software, we can begin to nail down the story so that people who might think
this is a serious problem for that user group will either convince us that it
is a serious problem, or we will convince them that the problem is handled, is
not really a problem on further consideration.

We may actually need to be more specific about techniques in the above context
and be more concrete in the next UAAG that leaves Candidate Recommendation for
a more definitive status.


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Received on Monday, 24 September 2001 14:05:44 UTC

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