Re: Another summary of alt="" issues and why the spec says what it says

My issue here is that this is description and not replacement for the image. 
I doub that anyone looking at the image would even come close to seeing what 
the words reflect.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steven Faulkner" <>
To: <>
Cc: "Ian Hickson" <>; "Jim Jewett" <>; 
<>; "John Foliot" <>; "HTML4All" 
<>; "Dan Connolly" <>; "HTML WG" 
<>; "Michael(tm) Smith" <>; <>; 
"Al Gilman" <>
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2008 5:41 AM
Subject: Re: Another summary of alt="" issues and why the spec says what it 

Hi Josh, i think you maybe missing something.

question - how does using aria-describedby help in this example (or
rather how could it help as the expected AT behaviuor is not yet

<h2>Photograph 2</h2>
  <img src=321098412.jpeg>
  <p>View North East from 23 High Street.</p>

AT (screen reader in this case jaws/window eyes) cannot be certain of
the relationship bewteen the content of the <p> and the image. theer
is nothing in the amrkup that says this <p> contains a  description of
the <img> above it.

Photograph 2 View North East from 23 High Street.

Not bad agreed.

same thing with describedby added:

<h2>Photograph 2</h2>
  <img src=321098412.jpeg arai-describedby="photo2">
  <p id="photo2">View North East from 23 High Street.</p>

what is known is that describebdy maps to MSAA description, so the
explicit association is provided and semantic relationship is provided
what is in this <p> is a description of <img> 321098412.jpeg

so could announce;

"Photograph 2  Description  View North East from 23 High Street."

Since there is an explicit description relationship it the AT could
now include the image in the virtual tab order for Graphics (example
in JAWS using the G key a user can navigate the page via graphics that
have an alt value).

When the user has virtual focus on the graphic the description could
be announced.

"Description  View North East from 23 High Street."

It could also use the description to provide a label in the graphics
list (In JAWS Graphics list CTRL+INSERT+G), rather than it being

does this provide some examples of how it could help in this example?


On 18/04/2008, Joshue O Connor <> wrote:
> Steven Faulkner wrote:
> >
> > > I agree it wouldn't necessarily be obvious to the computer, but it's 
> > > the
> > > >user that matters, and I can't really see why the association 
> > > >wouldn't
> be
> > > >obvious to the user.
> > >
> >
> > becasue being contiguous is a wek relationship and prone to error.
> >
> I don't follow. There are plenty of elements and attributes whose
> relationship is contiguous or defined in a linear way and they work fine.
> This comment suggests that writing code in a way that defines the
> relationships in a "non-serial" or more lateral way is somehow better?
> Or am I missing something?
> I guess you can use of aria-describedby to create programmatic 
> associations
> with content that is in order parts of the document or indeed in other
> resources/URIs but how is this somehow better?
> Cheers
> Josh

with regards

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

Received on Friday, 18 April 2008 11:24:30 UTC