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Re: [html4all] the alt attribute debate

From: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 16:14:20 +0100
Message-ID: <55687cf80709250814h26dc9deap38fbdac5733eab78@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Henri Sivonen" <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: "advocate group" <list@html4all.org>, "John Foliot - WATS. ca" <foliot@wats.ca>, "Anne van Kesteren" <annevk@opera.com>, www-archive@w3.org
Yo Henri,
a quick asnwer to your last question, will come back to the other stuff
later

>Can you speculate why it is done if not for the requirement to have
>an alt attribute with *some* value?

because IE shows the alt as a tooltip. so it is used to visually label.

can you speculate as to why if there care so much about the spec and
validation to add an alt text why do they not bother to fix up the many
other errors that appear in their code?

On 25/09/2007, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi> wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> On Sep 25, 2007, at 17:33, Steven Faulkner wrote:
>
> > >At least with alt text, unlike with spam, most uncooperative data
> > >sources aren't wanting to hurt you. They just aren't going to help
> > >you. It doesn't make sense to ask those who won't help you to hurt
> > >you if you have the option of asking them to neither help nor hurt.
> >
> > from my perspective you are beginning to babble here, i am unsure
> > of your point.
>
> The point is that if you say that there *must* be alt text, you are
> going to get alt text: non-bogus (help) and bogus (hurt). You can't
> easily tell which is which, so the bogus text dilutes the value of
> alt text as a whole (hurt). The absence of alt text does not help the
> way non-bogus alt text helps, but at least it doesn't dilute the
> trustworthiness of alt text in general.
>
> > >No, I don't think we have yet come to the conclusion that the absence
> > >of data will continue to be worse than bogus data. This should be
> > >trivially true: If a consumer prefer bogus data over absent data,
> > >bogus data can (by definition) be generated out of thin air. OTOH, if
> > >a consumer prefers absent data over bogus data, telling bogus and
> > non-
> > >bogus data apart is harder.
> >
> > lost me here too I am afraid.
>
> You have less noisy information to draw from if you have (mostly) non-
> bogus data and absent data than if you have non-bogus and bogus data
> in one mix.
>
> It is easy to take non-bogus data and absent data and produce a mix
> of non-bogus and bogus data. Every time you get non-bogus data, you
> pass it on as such. Every time you get absent data, you pass on some
> bogus data (e.g. the empty string or a random number).
>
> If you get a mix of non-bogus and bogus data and want to separate the
> two, you need to do more work less reliably.
>
> Therefore, if there's a choice of former and the latter, you should
> want to choose the former.
>
> Only getting non-bogus data is not a real option.
>
>
> The anomalous part in this case is that notable AT generates bogus
> data in a way that is easily worse than the bogus data a server-side
> programmer might dare to generate. It doesn't make sense that this
> should be the permanent state of affairs.
>
> > >AT UAs need to deal with those cases, too, though. The question is,
> > >really, whether explicit flagging as "critical" has enough value
> > >compared to falling in the same bucket with lack of alt for unknown
> > >reason.
> >
> > It is the spec that is making this distinction of certain images
> > without alt attributes being "critical content" it makes the
> > assumption that these can somehow be differentiated from all other
> > altless images, this distinction is reliant upon authors following
> > the other recommendations in the spec about how to mark up images,
> > without them doing this (which as we know is the likely case), then
> > these magical critical content images will become just more
> > meaningless noise for the AT UA to filter out as they curently do
> > (most of the time).
>
> Yeah, that aspect of the spec is questionable *if* there is value in
> explicitly flagging "critical" images. Is there?
>
> > Your arguments also appears to rest on the assumption that
> > automated software that outputs images to html is providing the alt
> > text because the current spec says so, i find this rather hard to
> > believe as they don't appear to be bothered about many other
> > aspects of the spec.
>
> Can you speculate why it is done if not for the requirement to have
> an alt attribute with *some* value?
>
> --
> Henri Sivonen
> hsivonen@iki.fi
> http://hsivonen.iki.fi/
>
>
>


-- 
with regards

Steve Faulkner
Technical Director - TPG Europe
Director - Web Accessibility Tools Consortium

www.paciellogroup.com | www.wat-c.org
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Received on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 15:14:33 UTC

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