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Re: Another summary of alt="" issues and why the spec says what it says

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 07:24:39 +0000 (UTC)
To: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Cc: Jim Jewett <jimjjewett@gmail.com>, david.dailey@sru.edu, John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>, HTML4All <list@html4all.org>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, wai-xtech@w3.org, Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@ieee.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0804180707500.22086@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Fri, 18 Apr 2008, Steven Faulkner wrote:
> >
> > I agree it wouldn't necessarily be obvious to the computer, but it's 
> > the user that matters, and I can't really see why the association 
> > wouldn't be obvious to the user.
> becasue being contiguous is a wek relationship and prone to error. for 
> example some AT use a heauristic to work out what it thinks a label for 
> a control is if its not explicitly associated using the for/id or title 
> attrbute. for a text input it looks for text to the left of the input an 
> announces that if it finds it. Works some of the time, dosn't work other 
> times. The AT user relies on the computer (AT) to recognize the 
> associations, thus an explcict association as supplied by the author is 
> usually a much more robust.
> = utility of aria-describedby

Sure, I understand what aria-describedby is for (though in your example 
with a label and an input, HTML4 already provides a way to do that, as you 
point out). My point is that if a page says, say:

   <h2>Photograph 2</h2>
   <img src=321098412.jpeg>
   <p>View North East from 23 High Street.</p>

...then the user experience in a speech would be something like:

   PHOTOGRAPH TWO. (Nondescript image.) View north east from twenty three 
   high street.

...and in a text browser something like:

   ** Photograph 2 **
   View North East from 23 High Street.

It seems like this is a fine experience given a tough situation, and I 
can't see how any other markup would make it particularly better, be that 
aria-describedby or alt="" or anything. (I _could_ see how the experience 
could be better with some help from the user agent, but that doesn't 
require any new markup.)

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Friday, 18 April 2008 07:25:18 UTC

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