Re: [a11y] Requiring alt Re: fear of "invisible metadata"

Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
> On Thu, 21 Jun 2007 18:31:53 +0200, Laura Carlson <> wrote:
>> On 6/18/07, Maciej Stachowiak <> wrote:
>>> ALT should not be required either. It leads to pointless alt="" on
>>> images that have no reasonable text equivalent, just to satisfy
>>> conformance checkers. And that is actively harmful, because AT can't
>>> tell the difference between a semantically null image and a
>>> semantically meaningful image with no text alternative.
>> ALT should be required. The single most important thing a person can
>> do to make a web page accessible
> *to blind people* - which is a small fraction of people with disabilities. 

As Chaals points out this debate is not just about blind users.
Accessibility isn't just about blind users. Its also the smaller, more
vulnerable groups in society that require the most energy and sometimes
resources etc from others to serve their needs.  As an aside,  IMO
sometimes the expression 'accessibility isn't just about the blind' is
often used with a subtext (am not suggesting that you are saying this
Chaals ;-) ) that there are other groups who are somehow being neglected
because blind user requirements are taking up so much processor power or

>> is to include alternative text for
>> images with alt attributes. "If there is no alt attribute at all
>> assistive technologies are not able to ignore the non-text content."
> Well, in practical terms, a user agent has to try and provide some help since this situation is a common accessibility problem, and it does it by more or less intelligent guesses. 

And the better the author can assist via useful attributes and elements
etc the better.


Received on Thursday, 21 June 2007 19:07:51 UTC