[Bug 8827] New: Inappropriate spec text and advice where images are not known


           Summary: Inappropriate spec text and advice where images are not
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: PC
               URL: http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/text-level-
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Keywords: a11y, a11ytf
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: HTML5 spec proposals
        AssignedTo: dave.null@w3.org
        ReportedBy: joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: ian@hixie.ch, mike@w3.org, public-html@w3.org, public-

The spec state:

"In some unfortunate cases, there might be no alternative text available at

The use of the word 'unfortunate' is inappropriate. The issue being outline is
merely and edge case, and should not be defined using such language as
'unfortunate' - as that has other connotations regarding disability that should
not be inferred. More neutral and objective language should be used in a
technical specification.

either because the image is obtained in some automated fashion without any
associated alternative text (e.g. a Webcam), or because the page is being
generated by a script using user-provided images where the user did not provide
suitable or usable alternative text (e.g. photograph sharing sites), 

These examples are fine in terms of defining the edge cases, however:

or because the author does not himself know what the images represent (e.g. a
blind photographer sharing an image on his blog).

This last example is misleading. A blind photographer /will/ know the context
within which pictures are taken, and therefore will be able to provide a
suitable alternate description (contrary to what the spec text currently
states). For example, if taking pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower, this can
be added to the alternate description to provide context. If in Angkor Wat, he
could take photos in various parts and describe them (@alt="Devatas are
characteristic of the Angkor Wat style." or @alt="The bas-relief of the
Churning of the Sea of Milk shows Vishnu in the centre etc") So I would like
this example removed. It is inappropriate.

Note: Such cases are to be kept to an absolute minimum. If there is even the
slightest possibility of the author having the ability to provide real
alternative text, then it would not be acceptable to omit the alt attribute.


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Received on Wednesday, 27 January 2010 11:31:27 UTC