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RE: User Testing of Accessiblity Features

From: Andrew Kirkpatrick <akirkpat@adobe.com>
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 07:57:23 -0700
Message-ID: <53744A0A1D995C459E975F971E17F56402858677@namail4.corp.adobe.com>
To: "Lachlan Hunt" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>
Cc: "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>, "WAI Interest Group list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "www-archive" <www-archive@w3.org>

The main issue that I see related to the need for the alt attribute on
images that have null alt is assistive technology support.  Screen
readers like JAWS make attempts to read _something_ for images when
there is no alt.  This is very important for linked images, but of
questionable value for images that are not.  

Naturally, the extent of the value of the image varies on the type of
the image, from spacer images (unimportant) to images bearing important
content or text (critical), but if there is no alt attribute value then
there isn't going to be information to read whether there is a null alt
or not.  

The value of requiring alt on images has been that it is easy to tell if
a person is totally unaware of certain accessibility issues by the
absence of alt attributes on images that need them.  I don't think that
requiring the alt attribute on all images should be sacred - equivalents
for meaning images and linked images (including inputs with type=image)
are required for accessibility, but I don't think it matters for other
images whether the empty alt is there or not, so long as assistive
technology ignores the image as they would with alt="".

This seems like a pure technology question - I'm not sure what needs
user testing here?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Lachlan Hunt
> Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 10:15 PM
> To: joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie
> Cc: HTML WG; 'WAI Interest Group list'; www-archive
> Subject: Re: User Testing of Accessiblity Features
> Joshue O Connor wrote:
> >  Hi Lachlan,
> > 
> > On the IRC I see that you say:
> > 
> >> # [14:25] <Lachy> I did ask Joshue O Connor in that email 
> if he could 
> >> help out, since he offered his services for such things, but never 
> >> heard back about it
> > 
> > The user testing is taking place tomorrow. Testing of Header/id 
> > combinations, @summary and @longdesc. I think I mentioned 
> that previously.
> I was aware that you would be testing those features, but I 
> think I was specifically referring to this email [1], where I 
> wanted to do testing of alt="" vs. no alt, etc.  Will that 
> issue be tested too, or left till another time?
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Aug/0577.html
> --
> Lachlan Hunt
> http://lachy.id.au/
Received on Tuesday, 28 August 2007 14:58:02 UTC

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