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

From: Jason White <jason@jasonjgw.net>
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2007 21:32:49 +1100
To: wai-xtech@w3.org
Message-ID: <20071126103249.GA27865@jdc.jasonjgw.net>

On Sun, Nov 25, 2007 at 12:09:59PM -0500, Al Gilman wrote:

> Please comment on this on the XTECH list.

I agree with the premises and the conclusions, with qualifications and
exceptions as noted below.

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

I would substitute "must" for "should" here, since under both WCAG1 and WCAG2,
this is a "priority 1" (respectively, "level 1") requirement, corresponding to
"must" in the  must/should/may trichotomy.

For the pedantically inclined, and we must be precise in these matters,
supplying a null value for the purpose of indicating the merely decorative
status of an image does amount to specifying a value of @alt for the purposes
of the preceding statements.
>
> 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.

I agree, and this point has applications for the HTML 5 spec that extend far
beyond the microcosm of the syntactic question under discussion here.
> 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 also that it has been suggested in WCAG techniques for a number of years.
It may have been implemented in authoring tools and evaluation tools as well;
the user agent/assistive technology side is only one important aspect of the
software that produces and consumes HTML documents.
> </position>

And you still haven't answered the question posed, namely whether @alt should
be required to be specified as part of the syntactic definition of <img>.
Received on Monday, 26 November 2007 10:33:16 GMT

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