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Re: No ALT place to go from CSS background images. The frustrating Australian situation

From: Tim <dogstar27@optushome.com.au>
Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2007 00:19:46 +1000
Message-Id: <43ca1f9e61d8efad054819dae69b12d3@optushome.com.au>
Cc: Michael S Elledge <elledge@msu.edu>
To: "'WAI Interest Group list'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Thanks Michael,

Thanks Mike, I believe that you are correct but I still have a 
pernickety issue with CSS presentational images.

Some images could be in-between presentational content and aesthetics, 
like a Newspaper masthead. You already know which paper you are 
reading, so they are presentational graphics, but my wish would be that 
CSS allowed atl attributes and a londesc so I could link to a sound 
file alternative to the CSS graphic content, so those who can't see the 
presentational graphics have some alternative sounds presented for 
them. The reason why I don't want the images in the page html is that 
the linked CSS allows seven optional layouts and different graphics.

You are right, the move to accessible websites is happening so very 
slowly in Australia it seems to be standing still, web courses here 
teach Photoshop and Dreamweaver and zero accessibility is taught at any 
Australian course that I know of (except one to Universities who detest 
my reviews) A snail's pace move for accessibility and they tend to 
shoot the messenger in Australia, but I admit I am on the more extreme 
side of being an activist advocating change that is unwelcome and I am 
a hard target to shoot pardon the pun. Wal-Mart is not much better.

I hope we see some good moves in America soon, though as John noted it 
is only so far it is only a class action case allowed to proceed, but 
they are the best cases on behalf of more than one disadvantaged person 
and corporations will be dragged along kicking and screaming followed 
by a bunch of impotent html illiterate luddite lawyers.

Tim

On 04/10/2007, at 11:53 PM, Michael S Elledge wrote:

> Hi Tim--
>
> My understanding is that the separation of presentation from content 
> using CSS should result in your using CSS images solely for aesthetics 
> and not conveying information. In other words, images that contain 
> meaningful content need to have a description using the alt tag, 
> images that don't contain meaningful content should have "" in the alt 
> tag, and images provided through CSS don't need an alt tag because 
> they by definition don't contain meaningful information.
>
> If I am incorrect about this, everyone, please feel free to let me 
> know.
>
> As for your frustration with the Australian government, I think we all 
> share your pain, though perhaps not as directly. The need to provide 
> accessible sites and software seems to be gaining more awareness, but 
> it's happening more slowly than I would ever have expected.
>
> Mike Elledge
>
> John Foliot wrote:
>> Tim wrote:
>>
>>> The Target ruling on ALT tags seems be a little judicially expedient
>>> and not the full picture on alt tags or accessibility.
>>>
>>
>> Tim,
>>
>> Please be very clear, there is yet a "ruling" in the Target case, 
>> outside of
>> the fact that the suit has now been elevated to a class-action suit, 
>> which
>> *does* up the ante somewhat.  However, one of the key considerations 
>> in the
>> case is the fact that many of the images on the Target site lack 
>> suitable or
>> "accessible" alternative text.
>>
>> I made my comments mostly in light of the fact that currently the 
>> HTML5
>> Working Group are suggesting that in the next generation language 
>> images
>> could be considered "conformant" even without alt text "...under 
>> certain
>> circumstances". [http://blog.whatwg.org/omit-alt]  I have been 
>> arguing that
>> even suggesting that this is a consideration opens the door for 
>> misuse and
>> abuse, as it becomes a subjective consideration by the developer, and 
>> while
>> the HTML5 WG are trying very hard to explain their reasoning, it 
>> ultimately
>> replaces one bad situation with an even worse situation (IMHO).
>>
>> If the Target.com case finds for the plaintiffs, then the message 
>> being sent
>> out is that within the discussion of legal requirements, images will 
>> require
>> alt text, irregardless of a specification that suggests otherwise.  
>> Thus,
>> while there might be a technical ability to do so, legal mandates will
>> insist that authors not take advantage of the technical ability, thus 
>> making
>> that aspect of the specification moot.
>>
>> I'm not 100% sure what the rest of your posting was trying to convey,
>> although we all know that you remain angry with "the system" in 
>> Australia.
>>
>> JF
>>
>>
>>
>>> On 04/10/2007, at 3:58 AM, John Foliot - Stanford Online 
>>> Accessibility
>>> Program wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>> In light of the fact that a judge today ruled that the suit against
>>>> Target.com can become a class action suit, and that one of the key
>>>> complaints is that many of the images do not have alt text, or
>>>> appropriate alt text...
>>>> This writer wonders aloud what the judge would think about sites 
>>>> that
>>>> deliberately did not include alt text, or did not programmatically
>>>> allow for the inclusion of alt text...
>>>>
>>>> 	"The court's decision today makes clear that people with
>>>> disabilities no longer can be treated as second-class citizens in
>>>> any sphere of mainstream life. This ruling will benefit hundreds of 
>>>> thousands of
>>>> Americans with disabilities." - Larry Paradis, Disability Rights
>>>> Advocates http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2191625,00.asp
>>>>
>>>> 	"All e-commerce businesses should take note of this decision and
>>>> immediately take steps to open their doors to the blind." - Dr. Marc
>>>> Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind.
>>>> http://tinyurl.com/33jszq
>>>>
>>>> It would seem pretty fool-hardy to create an online application or
>>>> site that did not allow for the insertion of alt text; especially if
>>>> the above results in serious grief for Target.com.  A future spec
>>>> might be conformant without alt text, but a judge might still award
>>>> damages; making the exercise theoretically moot.
>>>> Score one for social engineering!
>>>>
>>>> JF
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>> The Editor
>>> Heretic Press
>>> http://www.hereticpress.com
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
> <elledge.vcf>
The Editor
Heretic Press
http://www.hereticpress.com
Email dogstar27@optushome.com
Received on Thursday, 4 October 2007 14:20:13 GMT

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