RE: HTML Action Item 54 - ...draft text for HTML 5 spec to require producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.

It certainly looks sensible enough to me.

Here's the rub. It is impossible for the specification to mandate the
contents of @alt, only that @alt appear or not appear. I supposed the spec
can mandate that the contents of @alt not be null. Outside of that, we can
only make recommendations. The people who are omitting @alt now will simply
add null @alt's, which is effectively the same as no @alt at all.

By that logic, I believe that while this is an excellent set of
recommendations regarding the usage of @alt, it is fairly irrelevant if @alt
is mandatory or not mandatory. The true choice is if we want to try to come
up with a more granular method of doing the same thing, and I am fairly
certain we don't, since it is hard enough to get people to use @alt.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Steven Faulkner
Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2008 11:28 AM
Cc: Dan Connolly; Chris Wilson; Michael(tm) Smith
Subject: HTML Action Item 54 - ...draft text for HTML 5 spec to require
producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.

Dear HTML WG members,

The first draft of our rewrite of major sections of 3.12.2 "The img
element" in the HTML5 draft is now available:

This is the deliverable for HTML Issue tracker - Action item 54 [1]

This work is intended to be complimentary to the existing
specification and is written to some degree as a gap analysis of
previous iterations of the draft. This task was undertaken by Steve
Faulkner, Laura Carlson and Joshue O Connor who have expertise in the
field of web accessibility. It has been reviewed by Gez Lemon and
Gregory J. Rosmaita, who both have solid and vast knowledge of WCAG
2.0 and are or have been members of the WCAG WG.

The draft text is based on the February 6, 2008 PFWG advice that the HTMLWG:

 " the <img> element section to bring it into line as
 techniques for implementing WCAG 2.0. We say 2.0 because of the strong
 likelihood that WCAG 2.0 will precede HTML5 to Recommendation status.

 WCAG WG is chartered to set Accessibility guidelines and HTML WG is
 not; so HTML5 should be careful to create features that support WCAG
 and describe their use in ways that conform to WCAG."

 The aim of this draft is therefore to comply with WCAG 2.0, Guideline
1.1. Text Alternatives:

 "Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be
changed into other forms people need, such as large print, Braille,
speech, symbols or simpler language..."

 Further PFWG advice has been sought, is needed, and is pending
regarding related items as detailed in the draft. Please note that
this document does not attempt to address the issue of what an
authoring or publishing tool should insert, in a case where no alt has
been provided by the author, but the image is known to be "critical
content". That too is awaiting PFWG advice.

We trust that this document will be beneficial and a positive
contribution to the development of the HTML 5 specification.


Steve Faulkner
Laura Carlson
Joshue O Connor


Received on Friday, 9 May 2008 04:14:26 UTC