W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > wai-xtech@w3.org > April 2008

RE: Request for review of alt and alt value for authoring or publishing tools

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 19:59:50 +0000 (UTC)
To: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Cc: 'Tomas Caspers' <tomas@tomascaspers.de>, wai-xtech@w3.org, wai-liaison@w3.org, public-html@w3.org, 'HTML4All' <list@html4all.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0804151956020.3690@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Tue, 15 Apr 2008, John Foliot wrote:
> > 
> > Indeed the AT itself could read out the "1 of 4" thing -- and at least 
> > then there would be a reasonably good chance of the numbering being 
> > correct, which would not be the case if we relied on the author. :-)
> But this is not the case being suggested in the draft spec.  To whit, 
> the draft suggests that a user employing an automated system to up-load 
> 3000 vacation photos <sic> cannot or will not supply alternative text, 
> and the spec suggests that the automated system be excused from 
> attempting to improve this.

Right, because the UA/AT is in a much better place to know how to help the 
user in these cases. The idea here is to help the user. We can get better 
accessibility by letting user agents compete on best handling of these 
images than we can by letting servers, who have near zero motivation to 
address this issue, try to come up with some half-baked solution.

> Henri S. has classified this as possibly being "faked" content, without 
> stopping to think if there is a way to minimize the amount of faked or 
> spurious alternative text being generated; I continue to advocate 
> reserved values in lieu of any other suggestion, but curiously await 
> feedback from the afore-mentioned W3C working groups.

Reserved values are just syntactic variants on omitting the attribute. 
There is no practical difference. (Well, other than reserved values being 
significantly less usable in today's UAs, and omitting the alt="" 
attribute being cleaner, which is why the spec says to omit the attribute 
instead of inventing some new reserved value.)

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 20:01:02 UTC

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