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Techniques for providing useful text alternatives

From: Shawn Henry <shawn@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2010 15:41:47 -0500
Message-ID: <4C48AD0B.3090401@w3.org>
To: Steve Faulkner <sfaulkner@paciellogroup.com>
CC: wai-eo-editors <wai-eo-editors@w3.org>, "'wai@w3.org'" <wai@w3.org>, Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>
Hi Steve,

It was great to see you in person last week!

Here are notes from EOWG's brief look[1] at HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives, Working Draft 24 June 2010[2]:

* Overall, EOWG is very happy to see this document being developed and expects it to be extremely useful. We thank you for your work on this!

* We would like to help explore what is the best way to present this information. For example, what part of it might be in normative HTML5 specification, or in a broader W3C Note, or in a specific WAI resource (that is, just a webpage, not a formal W3C "Technical Report" under /TR/) that has more flexibility for design, updating, etc.

We think that much of the information would be useful for non-techy 'content authors'; however, many of these users would be turned-off by the more geeky/technical format and language.

Additionally, it feels like the current draft contains some information that might be best in a normative spec, and some information that might be better in a separate informative document.

* "Examples of scenarios where users benefit from text alternatives for images" (http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/WD-html-alt-techniques-20100624/#example-benefits) needs more explanation for people who are not aware, for example, of screen reader use. Perhaps link to the specific relevant sections of http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/people-use-web.php (which should be done in the next couple of months), or other resources.

See a separate e-mail thread with more ideas on this: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-eo/2010JulSep/0005.html

* Under "The img element alt attribute", there was some discomfort with: "Robust support in most graphical & non graphical web browsers and assistive technologies." Some in EOWG felt that given how different browsers handle alt text on hover, when images are turned off, etc., that maybe 'robust' was not warranted. Also, some wondered if it would be useful to briefly mention inconsistencies and link to information such as http://www.paciellogroup.com/blog/?p=498

* A few specifics:
- Consider using the more-familiar-to-some-people-term "screen reader" instead of, or in addition to, "text to speech software"
- Check heading structure
- Consider ways to improve usability; for example, provide functionality to expand or collapse the examples

(Note that EOWG did not do a thorough review. These are just initial comments from a mostly unprepared discussion on one teleconference.)

Thanks again for your work on this. We are happy to help refine it as appropriate.

Best regards,
~Shawn for EOWG <http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/>

[1] Minutes from the EOWG teleconference are at http://www.w3.org/2010/07/02-eo-minutes#item01
Please keep in mind that these are rough minutes and may not reflect what was actually said.

[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/WD-html-alt-techniques-20100624/

Shawn Lawton Henry
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
e-mail: shawn@w3.org
phone: +1.617.395.7664
about: http://www.w3.org/People/Shawn/
Received on Thursday, 22 July 2010 20:41:56 UTC

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