W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > January to March 2003

talking about text alternatives Re: ALT as required attribute

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 01:22:19 +1100
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Message-Id: <3BBF37B2-3915-11D7-9B46-000A95678F24@sidar.org>

An interesting proposition.

I certainly think that talking about "the alt attribute" instead of 
talking about text alternatives in case the imagery isn't clear has 
been a mistake. Not least because the alt attribute is limited to the 
img element, and isn't what is generally considered the best way to 
provide for alternative text - SVG uses child elements instead which 
can bring a few advantages and is more like what the XML accessibility 
guidelines suggest. HTML provides alt, title, longdesc, and the fact 
that images can be explained in accompanying text (this is something 
that is particularly good in print and I wish was done better and more 



On Tuesday, Feb 4, 2003, at 18:49 Australia/Melbourne, Jukka K. Korpela 

> Maybe we should stop telling people to use alt attributes. This 
> wouldn't
> mean stopping to tell about the needs of the blind and visually 
> impaired,
> or about visual browsing without images, or about people who do no
> _understand_ an image no matter how sharply they see it. Authors should
> perhaps _first_ consider how to deal with such issues without alt
> attributes. Then, perhaps, we could tell about this little invention,
> which would make authoring a little easier, not more difficult.
> (Authors can always use words in normal text to explain the message of 
> an
> image, and _should_ often do that instead of trying to squeeze 
> something
> obscure into an alt attribute.
Charles McCathieNevile           charles@sidar.org
Fundación SIDAR                       http://www.sidar.org
Received on Wednesday, 5 February 2003 09:22:39 UTC

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