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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: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 21:34:29 +1100
To: wai-xtech@w3.org
Message-ID: <20071127103429.GA29477@jdc.jasonjgw.net>

On Mon, Nov 26, 2007 at 11:08:15AM -0500, Al Gilman wrote:
> I went through the roundabout dance of function and performance
> requirements because it is still appropriate for HTML5 to re-consider
> whether the best way to mark content that is "Decoration, Formatting,
> Invisible:" is with no @alt attribute at all or with an explicit null string
> as the value of the @alt attribute.  Either of those choices, once
> offficially stated, is arguably a way to support what WCAG says.
> But "When is it appropriate to have meaningful content in @alt?" is
> addressed and settled by WCAG. HTML5 should stay out of that
> conversation other than to support the policy from WCAG with markup
> that enables readily-used techniques.

I concur with this analysis. It appears to follow that, once the means of
representing images that are decorative or artifacts of formatting has been
decided upon, the other option - omitted @alt or explicit null string - should
be syntactically invalid according to HTML 5.

Given the argument for an explicit null string, the above reasoning entails
that omission of @alt should not be allowed.

Alternatively, and this is a restatement of my comment above, if omitted @alt
signifies decoration or formatting, then an explicit null string should not be

If that's indeed the suggested position then I support it, with a preference
for permitting the explicit null string, and not permitting the omitted
Received on Tuesday, 27 November 2007 10:34:45 UTC

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