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RE: [Techs] Short text alternatives for object element

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2004 16:48:56 -0500
Message-ID: <C46A1118E0262B47BD5C202DA2490D1A0331801D@MAIL02.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "John M Slatin" <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>, "Roberto Scano \(IWA/HWG\)" <rscano@iwa-italy.org>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

An addendum, thanks again to Jim Allan:

IE displays text in the body of the <object> element if ActiveX controls
are toggled off. But if ActiveX contrtols are toggled off, IE doesn't
display the image.

Thanks to Jim Allan.  Thanks also to Jim Thatcher for testing this, and
for putting the test file up on his site at


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of John M Slatin
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 3:54 pm
To: Roberto Scano (IWA/HWG); w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: RE: [Techs] Short text alternatives for object element

Roberto wrote:

...it's logical that if object is not shown, alternative mudt be

Actually, I think the text in the <object> body should be spoken by
screen readers even when images are turned on.  Otherwise it's not
*alternative* content-- it's inaccessible (to everone!) if the browser
can render the content specified in the data attribute.  

Screen readers report alt and title attributes for the <img> element
when Show pictures is turned ON, and that's what should happen.  And it
works even when the <img> is inside an anchor, and that's what should

So there are two very different concepts of "alternative" content at
work.  In the case of the <object> element, "alternative content" is
shown when the *browser* has a "disability" (i.e., is missing a plug-in
or other device required to *render* some type of content. But for
accessibility purposes alternative content serves *people* who are
unable to *perceive* certaint types of content even when that content is
impeccably rendered.

Even if IE did what it's supposed to do with the <object>, we'd still
need to reassess whether it's appropriate to recommend putting text
alternatives in the body of the <object> element as an accessibility


----- Messaggio originale -----
   >Da: "John M Slatin"<john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
   >Inviato: 16/08/04 22.19.21
   >A: "w3c-wai-gl@w3.org"<w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
   >Oggetto: [Techs] Short text alternatives for object element
     >Item 10.5 in HTML Techniques for WCAG 2.0 [1] recommends putting
   >text alternatives in the body of the <object> element. This
   >works for Firefox and Opera but not for Internet Explorer 6.
   >I don't claim elegance for the attached page, but it does pass the
   >validator.  a .jpg file is specified in the opening tag of the
   >element, and a text alternative is provided in the body of the
   >element as described in the ttechnique.
   >JAWS 5.0 does not read the text inside the body of the <object>
   >I thought this might be because I had images turned on in the
   >so I turned them off (Tools|Options|Advanced|Multimedia|Show
pictures -
   >OFF). Not only did this not solve the problem-- JAWS still didn't
   >the text alternative-- but it revealed another one: IE continued to
   >display the image.
   >I asked Jim Allan to check this for me and he said that both Opera
   >Firefox display the embedded text when images are turned off, but IE
   >At the very least, this should be identified as a User Agent issue;
   >probably affects 10.6 and 10.7 as well, though I haven't checked to
   >if they behave differently.
   >"Good design is accessible design." 
   >John Slatin, Ph.D.
   >Director, Accessibility Institute
   >University of Texas at Austin
   >FAC 248C
   >1 University Station G9600
   >Austin, TX 78712
   >ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
   >email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
   >web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/
   >   >

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Received on Monday, 16 August 2004 21:48:58 UTC

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