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Re: HTML Action Item 54 - ...draft text for HTML 5 spec to require producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.

From: Andrew Sidwell <w3c@andrewsidwell.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 13 May 2008 16:25:09 +0100
Message-ID: <4829B2D5.6000303@andrewsidwell.co.uk>
To: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>
CC: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, wai-liaison@w3.org

Robert J Burns wrote:
> On May 13, 2008, at 2:51 PM, Andrew Sidwell wrote:
>> Robert J Burns wrote:
>>> On May 13, 2008, at 12:53 PM, Andrew Sidwell wrote:

...
> My response directly answers your question, but you're not reading the 
> response carefully.

I couldn't see it; and from what you've written below, I'm not sure that 
you read what I was asking.

>>> So to summarize critical content text alternative is not a 
>>> description of an image. It's the necessarily brief text that would 
>>> be required for a user to comprehend the document in the absence of 
>>> the image.
>>
>> Whilst all of this was interesting to read, it was also irrelevant to 
>> the question.  A page whose purpose is to display photographs cannot 
>> be comprehended in any meaningful way in the absence of the image in 
>> the case of the question I posed above (that is, where the person 
>> creating the page to show the image may herself have only the vaguest 
>> of notions of what the image is).
> 
> It directly responds to your question. None of what you're describing 
> belongs in the alt attribute according to the newly drafted section.

I'm not quite sure what I was describing that should belong in the alt 
attribute.  I spent some time making the point that the alt attribute 
was not the interesting question behind the present debate, in fact.

> While adding descriptions of photographs can make a document more 
> accessible and more usable in general, it does not belong in the alt 
> attribute (according to the newly proposed language). Instead it belongs 
> in longdesc referenced document fragment or in the image files metadata 
> or an aria-described-by referenced document fragment (none of which 
> would be required by the proposed img element language)
> 
>>>> Is it:
>>>> <img src="photo">
>>>> <img src="photo" alt="Photo">
>>>> <img src="photo" alt="Exposure 2s, f/12">
>>>> or something else?
>>> Something else (a photo will rarely require anything but null alt):
>>> <img src='photo1' alt='' longdesc='descriptions#photo1' >
>>
>> This merely moves the burden from alt text to a longdesc.  The 
>> question still stands.
> 
> No, the question does not still stand. The longdesc attribute is not 
> required. The alt attribute (according to the proposed section) is 
> required. Once we've moved the burden to the longdesc attribute your 
> very question evaporates.

The question did not mention alt.  It was: How does a blind photographer 
mark up a photo, which is known to be critical content, but which she 
herself cannot describe?

I can only assume that your answer would be something like

   <!DOCTYPE html>
   <title>Photo: 13th MAy 2008</title>

   <header>
     <h1>Photo Gallery</h1>
     <h2>Photo taken on 13th May 2008</h3>
   </header>

   <img src="photo" alt=''>
   <p><a href="prev">Previous photo</a>, <a href="next">Next photo</a>

where the only difference from my example is that you have included 
alt=''.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

>> I would suggest that
>>  <!DOCTYPE html>
>>  <title>
>>
>>  <header>
>>    <h1>Photo Gallery</h1>
>>    <h2>Photo taken on 13th May 2008</h3>
>>  </header>
>>
>>  <img src="photo">
>>  <p><a href="prev">Previous photo</a>, <a href="next">Next photo</a>
>>
>> would not be a bad way of answering the question.  Maybe include a 
>> paragraph straight after the image saying "1/2000s exposure at f/1.8".
>>
>> How would you propose to do it differently?
>>
>> (Consider also the case of a webcam mounted on a bag that took photos 
>> and uploaded them via a 3G connection every five minutes.  A similar 
>> situation applies there.)
> 
> Again, the question doesn't apply to the new img element language.

The question was "How does a blind photographer mark up a photo, which 
is known to be critical content, but which she herself cannot 
describe?".  I am not sure in what way that question doesn't apply to 
the new img element language-- could you please elaborate?  As far as I 
can see, the question is a perfectly valid one regardless of what 
specification you refer to.

> I understand your question to be about the burden of requiring alt.

Then you misunderstand it.

> Now 
> you're discussing the markup and text content surrounding an image, none 
> of which would be required. So we're on to a new question: and one 
> completely irrelevant to action item 54 (and onto topics that simply 
> confuse the current discussion).

I am trying to shine a light on the issues underlying the debate on 
whether the absence of alt should be syntactically valid or not; I am 
presenting a use-case in the hope that someone has a good answer.  In 
particular, I am asking those who want to require alt to be mandatory in 
all cases would write instead of the above-quoted example, in the hope 
that some concrete discussion might move the conversation on somewhat.

<snip>

Andrew Sidwell
Received on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 15:25:51 GMT

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