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DRAFT response Re[2]: Request for PFWG WAI review of Omitting alt Attribute for Critical Content

From: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 12:09:59 -0500
Message-Id: <p0611040fc36f4cf5e8ce@[192.168.1.102]>
To: wai-xtech@w3.org

<note
class="inDraft onProcess">

Earlier discussion on this point can be reviewed at
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/wai-xtech/2007Oct/thread.html#msg44
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/wai-xtech/2007Nov/0012.html

Please comment on this on the XTECH list.

PFWG could reach consensus on some variant of this
statement as early as Wednesday, 28 November or
it could take longer depending on the nature of the
commentary.

</note>

<premises>

Let's note the following:

WCAG2 is likely to become a recommendation before
HTML5, and is reasonably likely to be a Rec for several
years before HTML5.

The Web has been under-performing as regards supplying
good ALT text for images since 1997 when HTML4 was
published with a syntactic requirement for @alt on all <img>
elements.

</premises>

<position>

HTMLWG should agree that authors SHOULD provide
good text alternatives for all <img> elements as
stated in WCAG2 Guideline 1.1.

provisional URI:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/#text-equiv

</position>

<position>

WAI should agree that well-placed informative references
to existing W3C accessibility Recommendations is a
suitable way for the HTML5 specification to address this,
more or less as it has been done in the Specification Guidelines
Recommendation.

http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/REC-qaframe-spec-20050817/#address-other-topics

</position>

<position
class="requirement">

WAI asserts that HTML5 should provide formal semantics
bound to some markup pattern which enables a readily-followed
technique for the part of Guidline 1.1 where it says

<quote
cite="http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/#text-equiv-all">

Decoration, Formatting, Invisible: If it is pure decoration, or used
only for visual formatting, or if it is not presented to users, then
it is implemented in a way that it can be ignored by assistive
technology.

</quote>

WAI suggests that the markup pattern

   @alt=""

is a 'cowpath' in the language of the HTML5 Principles, in that
assistive technology is already in the practice of recognizing
<img> elements with that @alt value as ignorable.

<note
class="inDraft">
Somebody please confirm or deny this.  Do screen readers
actually skip images with @alt=""?
</note>

</position>

Al
/self (chair hat off)
Received on Sunday, 25 November 2007 17:10:18 GMT

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