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[Bug 10485] The img element with non-empty alt should default to the img aria role

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Tue, 07 Sep 2010 20:23:23 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1Ot4hP-00063Q-5K@jessica.w3.org>

Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no> changed:

           What    |Removed                     |Added
                 CC|                            |xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-i
                   |                            |ua.no

--- Comment #3 from Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>  2010-09-07 20:23:22 ---
Steve was was faster than me in reopening this bug. Hereby follows my
justification for reopening:

NOTE 1:  you want <img> to default to no role. OK. Could make sense.
NOTE 2: it seems like your thinking goes like this:

  a) you draw a line between "key part of the content" and "role=img".
  b) you draw line between @alt="<empty>" and "not key part"
  c) you draw a link between "semantically images" and role="img" - not sure
that is smart.

NOTE 3: HTML5 describes what should happen when @alt is not set:

if the src attribute is set and the alt attribute is not"
The image might be a key part of the content, and there is no textual
equivalent of the image available.

In a conforming document, the absence of the alt attribute indicates that the
image is a key part of the content but that a textual replacement for the image
was not available when the image was generated.

    [ snip ]

If the image has a title attribute whose value is not the empty string, then
the value of that attribute is the caption information; abort these steps.

If the image is the child of a figure element that has a child figcaption
element, then the contents of the first such figcaption element are the caption
information; abort these steps.


(1) Regarding a no-alt <img> inside a <figure> with a <figcaption>: 

    (PS: I suppose what you have in mind, is when such an <img>, apart from
<figcaption>, is the only child of <figure>, right?!?)

 If the ficaption of the figure element is used to caption an <img> with
no-alt, then it seems counterproductive to say that such an <img> should
default to role="img". Setting the role of an <img> to role="img", without at
the same time pointing - via aria-labelledby - to a something that can serve as
caption, will cause the AT to present the <img> as if it doesn't have any
caption. Also, should the author set the @role of the <figure> to role="img",
then there would suddenly be another element with role="img" inside the <figure
role="img"> element.

The only role that it would make sense for a no-alt <img> to default to when
used inside a <figure> with a <figcaption>, would be "presentation".
Ironically, this bug thus is related  Laura's request that it should be valid
to drop the @alt as long as the <img> has role="presentation" - bug 9214.

(2) Regarding <img> with no-alt, used *outside* a <figure> with a <figcaption>:

(2a) This usecase differs from the <figure> with <figcaption> usecase in that
defaulting the <img> to role="presentation" would make it completely disappar
from the AT user's attention.

But still,  for similar reasons as when used inside a <figure> with
<figcaption>, it does not seem to make sense to default such an <img> to
role="img", simply because setting the role of an element to "img" means that
the user agent will only consider  elements that are pointed to via
@aria-labelledby as captitions for the image. It is not possible to point to
the @title via aria-labelledby and @title is not automatically considered a
label whenever an element is given role="img". (It is of course possible that I
misread ARIA 1.0 or that ARIA could change would happens when an element gets
role="img" ...)

(2b) I agree that it could make sense to use the @title of such an image as
replacement for the lacking @alt. However, effectively, this would mean
treating the @title attribute a variant the @aria-label="*" attribute.   But
exactly therefore do I also believe that it should be considered an error to
use @title on an <img> without @alt: if someone applies aria-label="*" to an
<img>, then the proper thing would be to tell the author to use @alt instead.
Likewise, when someone uses @title instead of @alt, the propoer thing would be
to tell authors to use @alt  instead.

(2c) The way you now have specified things to work, we have the strange
situation that, as long as the <img> has no @alt, then it has role="img". The
purpose of @role is to help AT users, but there seems to be little help to gain
from such a thing. Likewise, if the authors adds a non-empty @title, then it
also remains role="img". But if  the author adds an @alt or turns the @title
attribute into an @alt attribute, then the <img> is suddenly not considered an
role="img" element anymore.

3) The issues described in 1) and 2) means that it becomes quite difficult for
the author to keep track of whenever the <img> defaults to role="img", and also
difficult for the author to know what consequences  role="img" is meant to

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Received on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 20:23:24 UTC

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