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

RE: [html4all] HTML5 Alternative Text, and Authoring Tools

From: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Thu, 1 May 2008 12:54:23 -0700
To: "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: "'HTML4All'" <list@html4all.org>, <public-html@w3.org>, "'W3C WAI-XTECH'" <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Message-ID: <007a01c8abc5$27a98ff0$da3142ab@stanford.edu>

Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Thu, 1 May 2008, John Foliot wrote:
>> Steven Faulkner wrote:
>>> A section of Ian hickson's comment on "HTML5 Alternative Text, and
>>> Authoring Tools": 
>>> 
>>> "We truly do believe in research, hard data, and analysis, rather
>>> than hypotheticals; and we truly do believe that evidence suggests
>>> that what we are arguing for is going to improve the accessibility
>>> of the Web." 
>>> 
>>> http://juicystudio.com/article/html5-alt-text-authoring-tools.php#co
>>> mment2 
>>> 
>>> Please show us the evidence.
> 
> It's not clear exactly what evidence is being requested.


* Substantiated "proof" that your opinion and claim has more legitimacy than
the authoritative advise of the PFWG who specifically recommended that @alt
remain mandatory would be a good start.

* Evidence that you understand that @alt supports more than just users of
screen voicing technology:

  [ih]"My claim is based on the concept that a user only needs to hear
information once, not twice."
 http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2007Sep/0020.html

  [ih] "And if _you_, an accessibility expert who cares about blind people,
don't bother to include descriptions of photos you upload to Flickr, how can
we possibly expect Random Joe User, who frankly _doesn't_ care about blind
users, to write descriptions for Flickr to include?"
 http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Apr/0434.html


> The
> reasoning for the current text has been the subject of a number of
> long and detailed e-mails to these lists already.

Where you and your supporters have continued to espouse your opinion with no
more factual data than what we, your detractors, have provided.  It is true,
both sides have argued as much from "gut" as it has from evidence, but given
that one side is, by W3C recognition, the experts on accessibility (PFWG)
and the other side is the authors of a Spec (HTML WG) most reasonable
observers *could* reach the conclusion that the accessibility experts do
have the upper hand.

So once again Ian please point us to any survey, study, white-paper or other
external evidence that **proves** your opinion has more credence than those
of your detractors.  Please give us the name of one single, recognized web
accessibility authority who has, or can, substantiate your claims.  In
previous emails I have given you any number of recognizable names whom I
would accept as being authorities - so it's not like there is nobody to
specifically question.  There *are* however numerous such authorities
questioning your assertions already, and others who are notably absent from
any discussion surrounding this issue (why is that?).  That's the kind of
evidence requested. 
(FWIW, the one expert source who *has* spoken to the issue - the PFWG - have
recommended to maintain @alt as mandatory, and you specifically, arrogantly,
ignore this guidance.) 

Ian, you might have a ton of experience at Specification authoring/editing,
but time and time again, your colloquial reference to accessibility issues
(and the dogged insistence on thinking of @alt as a "blind" issue) speaks
volumes on your real understanding and experience with accessibility issues.
There is no doubt you are sincere in your desire to improve web
accessibility, but honestly you can't be an expert on everything, and in
this area, you are clearly not an expert.

> 
> 
>> I have been asking for 'evidence' since September of 2007:
>> [http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2007Sep/0019.html]
> 
> I replied to that e-mail in detail within hours:
> 
>    http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2007Sep/0020.html
> 
> I notice you never followed up.

You're kidding right?  I have spent hours, quite literally, writing and
responding to emails on this topic - if that particular thread was dropped,
it's not like I fell off the face of the earth.  A search of the W3C
archives can attest to the fact that I have continued to monitor and comment
on the @alt attribute within HTML5 since that September 2007 posting.  Along
the way, I've even come part way to accepting that a mandatory @alt may
indeed be less than useful, although not for any of the reasons that you
suggest in the current Draft (those reasons being bull feathers).  Earlier
this week I even provided some specific concrete suggestions in an effort to
further the discussion beyond "is so/is not", to which no-one has really
commented on way or the other:
[http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/wai-xtech/2008Apr/0393.html] 

So outside of you perfunctorily announcing that you had examined the
outstanding emails surrounding this issue, and could find no other reason to
reverse your decision to maintain @alt as optional in some instances, what
substantive value have _you_ contributed to this discussion in the past 2
weeks?

JF
Received on Thursday, 1 May 2008 19:55:08 GMT

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