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Re: Is Flickr an Edge Case? (was Re: HTML Action Item 54)

From: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Tue, 27 May 2008 22:44:44 +0000
Cc: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>, "'Maciej Stachowiak'" <mjs@apple.com>, "'Karl Groves'" <karl.groves@ssbbartgroup.com>, "'Andrew Sidwell'" <w3c@andrewsidwell.co.uk>, public-html@w3.org, "'W3C WAI-XTECH'" <wai-xtech@w3.org>, wai-liaison@w3.org, "'HTML4All'" <list@html4all.org>, "'Matt Morgan-May'" <mattmay@adobe.com>
Message-Id: <C9807ED1-3579-42F4-A1A9-62AD519ECF41@robburns.com>
To: L.David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>

HI David,

I'd like to say that I agree with everything you say here in this well- 
written and concise email. I think the intended audience for a  
document is very important.

However, to me this suggest we need to augment the replaced elements  
with additional facilities and not simply drop the alt attribute in  
the case of photographs. Instead we should make use of the role  
attribute[1] to indicate whether the media is decorative or not and  
also add facilities to access descriptions of photographs (both  
subject descriptions and visual descriptions)[2]. Only when the role  
attribute has a proper value can authors then omit the alt attribute.  
This has the benefits of allowing the omission of the alt attribute in  
places where it may be unavoidable, yet still raising awareness among  
authors about the importance of these issues.

Take care,
Rob

[1]: <http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/EmbeddedContentRoleAndEquivalents>
[2]: <http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/UANormAndDOMForMediaPropeties>


On May 27, 2008, at 12:59 AM, L. David Baron wrote:

>
> On Monday 2008-05-26 17:17 -0700, John Foliot wrote:
>> Given that "photo sharing" is one of the most popular activities on  
>> the
>> internet, all the more reason to not leave open the door that  
>> suggests that
>> sometimes an image without @alt is "conformant".  The constant  
>> refrain from
>> the working group is that this would be a rare instance, yet you  
>> now suggest
>> that it will be the majority, and not a rare instance at all.  If  
>> 10 of the
>> top 100 websites on the WWW have this magic get-out-of-jail-free  
>> card then
>> surely others will seek to claim the same status.  The precedent  
>> being
>> suggested here is staggering.  This is supposed to "help"  
>> accessibility?
>
> I'd like to step back into the real (non-Web) world for a pair of
> brief examples:
>
>  1) A television news broadcast, expected to have an audience of
>  thousands or millions, is required to have closed captioning,
>  since that captioning will benefit a significant number of people
>  in the audience.  The benefit of the captioning is greater than
>  the cost of doing it.
>
>  2) When I have a phone conversation with a friend, closed
>  captioning is not required.  Neither of us would benefit from the
>  closed captioning.  (If we wanted a written conversation, we'd use
>  email or IM.)  There is zero benefit to the captioning, and it
>  would have significant cost (compared to that benefit), so it is
>  not done.
>
> One of the great things about the Web today is that it is blurring
> the distinction between these two examples.  Today's Web is not only
> about large corporations publishing content for the masses to
> consume.  It's also about creation of content by individuals, a few
> of whom have an opportunity to be heard widely that they never had
> before, but many of whom are still essentially having conversations
> among a small group of friends.
>
> Applying all the requirements we apply to mass media to content
> creation for small audiences doesn't make sense.  We have to
> consider the costs and benefits of meeting these requirements.  If
> we enforce them on everyone, one thing we'll do is force a lot of
> this content off of the Web entirely, which would make it accessible
> to much fewer people.
>
> I think flickr is a great example of the read-write Web because it
> contains a small number of very popular photos, and lots of photos
> that have been viewed fewer than a dozen times.
>
> -David
>
> -- 
> L. David Baron                                 http://dbaron.org/
> Mozilla Corporation                       http://www.mozilla.com/
>
Received on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 22:45:35 GMT

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