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RE: [Techs] Short text alternatives for object element

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 12:24:31 -0400
Message-Id: <a0611048dbd4931451114@[]>
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

>>...it's logical that if object is not shown, alternative must be displayed.
>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.

You can't be serious about that. (But I suppose you could be, given 
your long-term confusion about the "alternative" nature of captions 
and descriptions.)

The spec states:

>>A user agent must interpret an [244]OBJECT element according to the 
>>following precedence rules:
>>1. The user agent must first try to render the object. It should not
>>render the element's contents, but it must examine them in case the 
>>element contains any direct children that are [245]PARAM elements 
>>(see [246]object initialization) or [247]MAP elements (see 
>>[248]client-side image maps).

Note the following:

>>2. If the user agent is not able to render the object for whatever
>>reason (configured not to, lack of resources, wrong architecture, 
>>etc.), it must try to render its contents.

If it *can't* render the object, it *must try* to render its 
contents. User agents are not permitted to render multiple objects at 


>>If a user agent cannot render the outermost [257]OBJECT, it tries 
>>to render the contents, which may be another [258]OBJECT element, 
>>[In an example given]
>>The outermost declaration specifies an applet that requires no data 
>>or initial values. The second declaration specifies an MPEG 
>>animation and, since it does not define the location of an 
>>implementation to handle MPEG, relies on the user agent to handle 
>>the animation. We also set the type attribute so that a user agent 
>>that knows it cannot render MPEG will not bother to retrieve 
>>"TheEarth.mpeg" from the network. The third declaration specifies 
>>the location of a GIF file and furnishes alternate text in case all 
>>other mechanisms fail.

>Screen readers report alt and title attributes for the <img> element 
>when Show pictures is turned ON, and that's what should happen.

Because screen-reader users are usually blind. Sure. You cannot 
render an image in voice; you *must* deliver the alt text.

>So there are two very different concepts of "alternative" content at work.

No, there are not!

>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 solution.

Make up your mind here. Either you want us to "reassess" the proper 
and intended usage of <object> to include text alternatives or you 
want such text alternatives always read out in every case 
(disqualifying them from the meaning of "alternative").

We can safely disregard these inconsistent and harmful 
recommendations, which are contrary to spec and common sense.


     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
     Expect criticism if you top-post
Received on Wednesday, 18 August 2004 17:42:16 UTC

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