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Re: alt crazyness (Re: alt and authoring practices)

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Sun, 04 May 2008 21:29:23 +0200
Message-ID: <481E0E93.1010509@malform.no>
To: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>

Smylers 2008-05-04 04.18:
> Leif Halvard Silli writes:
> > I think we can solve this issue satisfyingly, for all parts and
> > partners, simply by specifying the following 2 lines:
> >
> > ęShould the author fail to insert an alt attribute, then an image
> > analysis tool steps in and analyses the image on behalf of the author,
> > and insert the image analysis as alt text. 
> Why would authors' image analysis tools be superior to that of users (in
> particular, of users who routineless browse without images)?  Especially
> if several years ellapse between the publication of the webpage and it
> being browsed by an image-less user.

It was a joke. But OK.

For existing content, then fine, just let the user run an anlysis 
program if he has one and gets a relevant experience from it. I'm sure 
we all can imagine that there will be a lot of humorous results from it 
(which would soon turn into very annoying).

But for new documents, to leave out @alt and instead recommend image 
analysis would be like sending out a document with a recommendation to 
"please fill out the blanks yourself". That's why the author should run 
it instead. This would also ensure that all users get to read the same 
alt texts. This is important because alt texts are also used to identify 

Because, the purpose of @alt is not to create an "alternative 
experience", as you said in another message, but to create an experience 
which is related to the experience which the author wanted to give by 
placing the image there in the first place.  I doubt, for instance, that 
an image analysis program will be able to tell the name of the persons 
inside the image, and tell who is smiling to whom. Unless we move 
several steps more towards a big brother society. This problem would be 
there also if the author ran the image analysis himself. But if first 
the alt text is left to image analysis, then one should at least ensure 
that they are identical.

Finally, we don't need to permit @alt to be dropped in order to provide 
incentive for developing image analysis programs. If such programs turns 
out useful, then they will be made useful for all IMG elements that the 
user can access, regardless of whether there is an alt text or not.
leif halvard silli
Received on Sunday, 4 May 2008 19:30:05 UTC

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