Re: Use-case for where alt text would be truly unavailable

Hi Charles,

>I am going to reassign the product of this issue to the specification
draft, rather than to no product at all. The question of what is valid is
>pretty clearly one for the spec itself.

Are you referring to Issue-31 here? If so appears as if a technical glitch
has occured and it has been un-assigned again:

2008-04-16 08:34:10: Issue dissociated from any product
Could you re-re-asign it,  as I agree that it clearly should be associated
with  the HTML5 spec

with regards

On 16/04/2008, Charles McCathieNevile <> wrote:
> On Wed, 16 Apr 2008 04:05:23 +0200, Andrew Sidwell <>
> wrote:
> It occurred to me earlier there there there might be a non-sighted person
> > who enjoys taking photos.  Maybe so other people can look at them.  Maybe so
> > that edge-detection can be run on the images so they can be etched and
> > thus felt rather than just seen.
> >
> and
> are entries about
> - exactly the situation you are
> imagining.
> Although single data points are open to misinterpretation, it might beworth looking at the real thing if the alternative is a thought experiment.
> Imagine these photographs were uploaded to the Web.  The artist is in no
> > position to provide alt text.  Neither is whatever CMS the artist is
> > using.  However, the content is clearly critical content.
> >
> There are several possibilities here. In some cases, an alt that provided
> a key such as the filename so the artist knew which is which wouldactually
> be helpful - for instance in a apge full of images. On the single image
> pages, however, that would not be terribly helpful.
> However, I agree with the fundamental point that making up some kind of
> appropriate value for an alt attribute may not be possible even with
> goodwill. I think that is a secondary case to the fact that we know a
> large number of images will lack an alt attribute for worse reasons, like
> people havng second-rate tools, or being lazy, or cutting corners in a rush,
> or whatever.
> Requiring alt in this case seems like lunacy.
> >
> This is ISSUE-31 and the question hinges on what you mean by "requiring".
> Making a validator say "this page is invalid" is not the same as forcing
> someone to put the attribute in. The real question is what will happen on
> the web, if the validator says that - what will people who make CMS and
> other authoring tools of various kinds actually do? And that is the crux of
> this issue.
> The critical question is whether making a lack of alt attribute invalid
> will lead to people making systems insert some default in order to pretend
> that they are outputting valid code (thus defeating the purpose of the
> attribute and its current interpretation in deployed systems), or whether
> people are often not concerned about validity, so the major effect will beto educate those who are on the problem that they have created and thus help
> them improve the Web.
> In any event, it seems that the HTML 5 spec should clarify that not having
> an alt attribute is *some* kind of error. It should also clarify, perhaps
> by reference to the W3C recommendation ATAG 1.0, checkpoint 3.4 [1], that is
> would be a *worse* error to put in a random default attribute. With
> respect to my good mate John Foliot who disagrees with me, having "there is
> no alt attribute" be an indicator that there is a problem is superior to
> having a defined default value, if only because it already works with
> today's deployed tools, guidance, and so forth.
> [1]
> cheers
> Chaals
> (the following are several thoughts that are related, but stretch the
> topic)
> I believe that there are other issues based around specific examples given
> in the last draft of the spec I read that I think are wrong in terms of what
> they say about when and how to use alt, but that is not the current issue
> - and overall there has been a big improvement in what the spec says on this
> topic.
> I am going to reassign the product of this issue to the specification
> draft, rather than to no product at all. The question of what is valid is
> pretty clearly one for the spec itself.
> The lack of longdesc in the current HTML 5 draft restricts the options a
> bit, since it forces all description to be on the one page. This is not
> always ideal, but if thae situation continues and people take it seriously
> it will lead to hidden text, including using tricks like display:none and
> hoping or believing or wishing, incorrectly, that screen readers will
> somehow still see the text. (That's ISSUE-30)
> --
> Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
>    je parle franšais -- hablo espa˝ol -- jeg lŠrer norsk
>   Try Opera 9.5:

with regards

Steve Faulkner
Technical Director - TPG Europe
Director - Web Accessibility Tools Consortium |
Web Accessibility Toolbar -

Received on Friday, 18 April 2008 04:24:00 UTC