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

Re: Is Flickr an Edge Case? (was Re: HTML Action Item 54)

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
Date: Tue, 27 May 2008 13:59:09 -0700
To: John Foliot <foliot@wats.ca>
Cc: "'Maciej Stachowiak'" <mjs@apple.com>, "'Karl Groves'" <karl.groves@ssbbartgroup.com>, "'Andrew Sidwell'" <w3c@andrewsidwell.co.uk>, public-html@w3.org, "'W3C WAI-XTECH'" <wai-xtech@w3.org>, wai-liaison@w3.org, "'HTML4All'" <list@html4all.org>, "'Matt Morgan-May'" <mattmay@adobe.com>
Message-ID: <20080527205909.GA20686@pickering.dbaron.org>

On Tuesday 2008-05-27 10:36 -0700, John Foliot wrote:
> This is not what is being debated here however.  What is being suggested is
> that the technical specification be written to open a loop-hole that so far
> has been closed: images must contain @alt if they are to be deemed
> conformant.  That millions of images lack @alt, or a valuable @alt value is
> not open to discussion - I will concur that they exist.  This alone is not a
> reason to reverse the course and suggest that it's somehow OK, so we'll
> re-write the spec to say that it is.  It's not.  Since the current penalty
> for not having @alt is... NOTHING... I cannot see how the new spec helps
> anyone save those who want conformant code without doing all that is
> required to ensure conformance.

So you're saying that you prefer people litter their meaningful
images with alt="" so that it's harder to distingush the meaningful
ones without useful alternate text from those that are purely

> have a textual alternative to an image.  If, as suggested, most photos are
> viewed by a very few (your telephone analogy), then what is wrong with
> adding alt="" to those millions of images viewed by the very few?  The whole
> argument falls flat on it's face.

So that a user using a text-mode browser who *could* switch to
another browser if they wanted to can know that there's content
there, but can still have images that are purely decorative hidden
by their alt="" ?

Would you agree that something like alt="[PHOTO]" or alt="[IMAGE]"
would be better for users in  that case than alt=""?

If so, would you agree that it's worth standardizing what should be
used to mark such a case rather than having authors pick "[IMAGE]"
or "[PHOTO]" or their own variant?


L. David Baron                                 http://dbaron.org/
Mozilla Corporation                       http://www.mozilla.com/
Received on Tuesday, 27 May 2008 20:59:56 UTC

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