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[Bug 9098] New: Correct the img element definition. Replace with suggested text.

From: <bugzilla@wiggum.w3.org>
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 2010 11:48:58 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-ID: <bug-9098-2486@http.www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/>

           Summary: Correct the img element definition. Replace with
                    suggested text.
           Product: HTML WG
           Version: unspecified
          Platform: Macintosh
               URL: http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/text-level-
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Keywords: a11y
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: HTML5 spec bugs
        AssignedTo: dave.null@w3.org
        ReportedBy: laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com
         QAContact: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
                CC: ian@hixie.ch, mike@w3.org, public-html@w3.org, public-

-- Quote [1] --

The HTML5 spec defines the <img> element as an element that "represents an
image". The spec then defines alternative text (textual content) as "fallback
content". What's wrong with this? These definitions suggest that the visual
content (the image) is more important than the textual content. As a result, to
many people, if the primary purpose of embedding an image is achieved, the
secondary or fallback purpose (textual content) can be skipped or given cursory

The following is a better way to describe the <img> element that gives equal
weight to the visual and textual content: "The img element represents content
that can be rendered visually (as an image) and textually. The src attribute
provides visual content in the form of an image and the alt attribute provides
textual content. The content in the src and alt attributes must convey
equivalent meaning."

The principle behind this definition is already in practice in a publicly
available HTML reference. [2]


The <img> element's visual content and its textual content are equivalent in
meaning and should therefore be of equal importance. How elements are defined
in the specification influences tool vendors, educators and ultimately Web site
creators, so that clearly defining the correct use of HTML elements can over
time improve the use of HTML. 

-- Unquote --

This bug relates to HTML Issue 31 [3] and the Change Proposal [4]  to "Replace
img Guidance for Conformance Checkers" rationale to uphold the Structural
Integrity of HTML which states:

Complete structure for the image element requires both src and text

src is to sighted users as text alternatives is to some users with

* Omit the src attribute and sighted users have no content.
* Omit text alternatives and some users with disabilities have no content. 

Without both a src and a text alternative the img element is incomplete. 

[1] The quoted text is from a blog post from someone who has no confidence in
the  W3C HTML WG or WHATWG process. 
I pass it on here for consideration.
[2] http://www.xstandard.com/en/articles/xhtml-reference/img/
[3] http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/31

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Received on Saturday, 20 February 2010 11:48:59 UTC

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