W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > January to March 2005

Re: ALT and TITLE Clarification

From: Michele Diodati <michele.diodati@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 19:11:02 +0100
Message-ID: <2e1e87c0501071011673829b1@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

Chris Ridpath <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca> wrote:

> > Think to a menubar: alt text for every image is
> > an alternative text for it, not a description.

> This is the way things are done now. I'm proposing that we change a bit.
> If the menu button was a picture of scissors the alt text should be
> "scissors". The title would be "cut". User agents could tell the user "cut"
> and "picture of scissors".

It seems to me your proposal adds an unnecessary cognitive burdening.
Accessibility for non visual users has to aim at keeping as low as
possibile noise in the content. For example, a sighted chess player
may find pretty and funny a web page containing a graphical
sophisticated chessboard, as long as he can easily distinguish the
pawns from the bishops or the rooks from the queens, and play with
ease his game. But the same chessboard and the same chess set can
become very problematic, if you presume to describe with alt texts
every single snip in the graphic environment of the page. A blind
chess player wants simply know that the queen pawn moved to D4! All
the rest is noise.

So I think alt texts, if they have to be valid substitutes for images
(as requested in [1]), should contain the smallest piece of
information meaningful enough to allow non-visual users to understand
the content and use it to the best advantage. To this end, in some
cases we may need to put in alt texts a description of the image
content, in some cases we rather may need to put in them a description
of the image function. In any case a description of the image is not
necessary in order to make understandable and correctly usable the
content, why not use longdesc to provide non-visual users with a full
description of the graphic content?

Michele Diodati

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/struct/objects.html#adef-alt
Received on Friday, 7 January 2005 18:11:34 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:33:52 UTC