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Re: Alternative text

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2006 00:43:25 +0000
Message-ID: <45551CAD.9080706@splintered.co.uk>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Paul Novitski wrote:

>> On Fri, 2006-11-10 at 14:06 +0000, Patrick H. Lauke wrote:
>> > if it's something like a photo of a member of staff on a
>> > profile page, I'd treat it as visual fluff and put a null alt on it.
> Unless you think a non-visual visitor will benefit by knowing that the 
> image is there, even if they can't see it themselves.

And is I personally don't think that they'd benefit from it in normal 
situations, I would - as I said - treat it as fluff.

Otherwise, we can take the counter argument of "you don't know what 
non-visual visitors would find useful to know" ad absurdum and say that, 
even though they can't see it, they may be interested to know what 
colours were used, what spatial arrangement was given to page elements 
(purely from a design point of view, of course, and not to convey 
meaning, as that shouldn't rely purely on the visual presentation 
anyway) etc.

As ever, even this small discussion highlights why it will never be 
possible to reach a unanimous agreement on the *generalised* idea of 
when alt text is needed and/or what it should be...it has to be decided 
pretty much on a case by case situation, with consideration for often 
contradictory needs/opinions even from those visitors who we're trying 
to best serve with this in the first place.

That's what makes accessibility so interesting :)

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Saturday, 11 November 2006 00:44:09 UTC

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