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Re: empty alternatives?

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 18:34:56 -0500
Message-Id: <4.1.19991115181715.00a3e980@pop3.concentric.net>
To: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>, WAI User Agent Working Group <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
david poehlman wrote:
quote
  I review currently the nov 5 draft and each time I do from the first,
  I get a queasy feeling about empty alternatives.  I understand on the
  one hand why and agree with the sentament that the word image repeated
  <50 11> times is pretty obnoxious.  Consider for a monemt though that
  an image that has no alt text is one that is downloadable or is
  desired to be.  if Nothing is rendered, it cannot be found by a screen
  reader but through digging out the source assuming one knows that it
  is there in the first place.  Can we then have a ttoggle for this?  so
  that we can have either the url or nothing rendered?
unquote

aloha, david!

i agree that the issue of empty alternatives is an important one, and one that
has oft given me pause, too...

personally, i believe that the sanest technique is to follow Lynx's lead, and
endow the user with the option to choose:

1. Replace un-ALTed images with a generic placeholder (i.e. [IMAGE])
2. Replace un-ALTed images with the name of the file contained in the IMG
declaration
3. Suppress (hide) un-ALTed images (i.e. render nothing)

if the ALT attribute contains a null value, the user should have the following
options available to him or her:

1. Replace null ALT values with generic placeholders (i.e. [IMAGE])
2. Replace null ALT values with the name of the file contained in the IMG
declaration
3. Respect null ALT values (i.e. render nothing)

additionally, the author should be able to define what is meant by a quote null
ALT value unquote, i.e.:

        ALT="" only
        ALT=" " only
        ALT="" or ALT=" "

(note to speech users -- the first ALT value contains 2 sequential quotation
marks; the second ALT value contains a white space)

of course, the above suggestions are offered with the caveat that they do NOT
apply if the un-ALTed image is part of a hyperlink...   in that case, the UA
could:

A. replace graphical hyperlinks that lack ALT text with generic placeholders
(i.e.. [LINK])

B. replace graphical hyperlinks that lack ALT text with the TITLE of the
referred URI (i.e. the text contained within the TITLE element of  the document
source for the page referenced by the HREF)

C. replace graphical hyperlinks that lack ALT text with the filename of the
referred document or resource

D. replace graphical hyperlinks that lack ALT text with the URI of the referred
document or resource

of course, it would be of great benefit if all of the above-listed options
could be toggled on and off as easily as they can be in Lynx...

gregory
--------------------------------------------------------
He that lives on Hope, dies farting
     -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1763
--------------------------------------------------------
Gregory J. Rosmaita <unagi69@concentric.net>
   WebMaster and Minister of Propaganda, VICUG NYC
        <http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/vicug/index.html>
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Received on Monday, 15 November 1999 18:28:17 UTC

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