W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > May 2008

Re: alt and authoring practices

From: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Sun, 4 May 2008 14:09:06 +0000
Cc: Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>, HTML Working Group <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <8ACC7856-7D06-420E-9A4A-4221428B37E1@robburns.com>
To: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>

Hi James,

On May 4, 2008, at 1:24 PM, James Graham wrote:

> I think the current behavior of KompoZer (the Nvu fork that is  
> shipped with the current Ubuntu release) is both an example of a UI  
> that is too hard for normal users and the harm that comes from a  
> mandatory alt attribute requirement combined with the desire of tool  
> authors to produce markup that passes automated conformance checks.  
> I don't know how much the KompoZer UI has changed from the Nvu UI in  
> this area.
> [description of Nvu UI]

OK, but then what would be wrong with giving Nvu and other authoring  
tools a way out. As has been suggested countless times in these  
debates, why not have either of the following being in a conforming  
HTML5 document:

1)  <img alt='' ;  alt='<something inserted by the author>''  
src='animage' >  for images indispensable for the use of the page; or
2)  <img alt='' ;  src='animage' >   for decorative images; or
3) <img src='animage'  anewattribute='with an enumerated value  
indicating an relevant to the content of the document but not  
indispensable for the use of the page ' >

Several candidates have been put forward for this new attribute. A  
@noalt boolean attribute was suggested. Use of the @role attribute  
with several new HTML5 enumerated keywords[1] was suggested. Any other  
suggested attribute names and values would be welcome.

With other options, there's no reason to leap to the conclusion that  
HTML5 should undermine accessibility on the web. With this other  
option, authoring tools could easily default to the "don't include  
alternate text" option when not within a link and be more insistent on  
including alternate text when within a link. In the rare cases where  
alternate text is needed for an image outside a link get to the  
publishers, editors, content management system creators, etc. who make  
use of such idioms.

Take care,

[1]: <http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/EmbeddedContentRoleAndEquivalents?highlight=%28image%29%7C%28alt%29%7C%28role%29 
Received on Sunday, 4 May 2008 14:09:44 UTC

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