Re: [html4all] HTML5 Alternative Text, and Authoring Tools

On May 15, 2008, at 01:35, Gez Lemon wrote:

> The responsibility for accessibility doesn't fall purely on an
> authoring tool, although they surely have some responsibility.
> Accessibility is the responsibility of the content author, the
> authoring tool they use, and the user agent that the end-user chooses
> to use. If any of these stakeholders fail in their responsibilities,
> then the end result is likely to be inaccessible to some users.
> If an authoring tool isn't provided anything that can be used as
> alternative text, then the authoring tool certainly should not try and
> guess what the alternative should be, as only the content author could
> know with any certainty what a suitable replacement for an image could
> be. The most sensible thing to do in this scenario would be to not
> include an alt attribute at all, as it hasn't been provided by the
> author.

I agree with you up to here.

> From what I understand, at this point, my opinion is completely
> aligned with members from the HTML5 community. The difference in our
> opinions is that although I would suggest the authoring tool has done
> the right thing for this particular scenario, the HTML5 working group
> want the resulting output to be considered to be in compliance with
> the specification. I disagree with this viewpoint, as the resulting
> structure is inconceivable to some users with visual impairments and
> cognitive disabilities, in a way that the resulting structure would be
> inconceivable to sighted users if the src attribute wasn't provided in
> a browser that renders images. That is the structure is inaccessible,
> and couldn't possibly be considered valid.

The notion that a syntax specification should require software  
conforming to the specification  to produce syntactically non- 
conforming output under some circumstances is patently bizarre. We  
shouldn't require something that is bizarre in a way that it doesn't  
fit the software developer mindset, because then we don't get the  
reactions we want from software developers.

Henri Sivonen

Received on Thursday, 15 May 2008 07:44:10 UTC