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[Bug 9213] HTML5 Lacks a Way to Programmatically-Determine Missing Text Alternatives

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Tue, 07 Jun 2011 08:09:23 +0000
To: public-html-a11y@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1QTrLn-0007hV-T5@jessica.w3.org>

Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com> changed:

           What    |Removed                     |Added
             Status|RESOLVED                    |REOPENED
         Resolution|NEEDSINFO                   |

--- Comment #5 from Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com> 2011-06-07 08:09:22 UTC ---
A missing attribute would provide a practical method of detection, handling,
and repair of missing text alternatives, after a conscious decision has been
made by the author to deliberately publish images without text alternatives. It

* Allow an image without alt text be honestly labeled for it is: missing,
incomplete, lacking substance.
* Affirm that the author did not (and does not intend to) provide a text
* Provide a machine checkable mechanism to locate missing alt text/enable tools
to quickly discern where "missing" has been used.
* Afford a practical means to mitigate damages after all else has failed,
allowing for crowdsourcing or metadata repair. AT would be at liberty to apply
a crowdsourced definition, to scour image metadata or or both, since the AT
knows that the author didn't apply a text alternative, it can inform the user
as to the potential deficiency in the located text(s).
* Support ethical accountability by promoting the development of responsible
tools and by advocating an effective enabling environment. 

Jan Richards explained how this could work [1]:

1. the author drag-and-drops an image into an authoring tool (bypassing  the
usual insert dialog)
2. the authoring tool has implemented a "live" accessibility checker (not 
required by ATAG but a nice feature), so the image is immediately given  a blue
squiggly underline (similar to red underlining of spelling  errors) to indicate
no @alt value has been set.
3. BUT the author ignores the underlining, saves and close the document.
4. BUT the authoring tool has an accessibility option set to use the  "missing"
mechanism to validate, so when the author has failed to  address the
accessibility issue and the content is being closed, the  tool adds @alt=" "
and the "missing" mechanism. (Ordinarily adding " " to the @alt would be
considered a repair of the  alternative text, but the missing mechanism tells
user agents to ignore it...so ATAG2 B.2.4.3 is met).

It is possible to require a set of programmatically valid options which
maintains the integrity of the markup and aids accessibility while addressing
business needs. 

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Aug/1009.html

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Received on Tuesday, 7 June 2011 08:09:25 UTC

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