Re: feedback requested on WAI CG Consensus Resolutions on Text alternatives in HTML 5 document

On Aug 15, 2009, at 15:52, Steven Faulkner wrote:

> as part of my work on,  
> to progress towards consensus by the html wg on the contents of the  
> html 5 specification in regards to text alternatives, it would be  
> helpful to get feedback from you and other interested people on the   
> 'WAI CG Consensus Resolutions on Text alternatives in HTML 5'  
> document

I noticed that your question was addressed to Ian and CCed to public  
lists, but I'll go ahead and reply myself anyway:

I previously asked for clarifications on the WAI CG consensus:

However, I didn't get further replies after:

Therefore, I'd like to reiterate the following point:

I think it doesn't make sense to evaluate the statement of consensus  
in isolation of knowing what ATAG 2.0 or its accompanying documents  
are going to recommend to developers of HTML5 editors.

I think the following procedure should be followed:

  1) Find out how browser/AT combinations behave given various  
combinations of <img>, alt, lack of alt, empty alt, aria-label, title,  
aria-describedby, etc.

  2) Given the existing client behaviors discovered at step #1,  
develop authoring tool guidance for different scenarios of the  
authoring tool user being cooperative and uncooperative. In  
particular, develop guidance on what markup and authoring tool must  
emit when the user doesn't provide text alternatives (for whatever  

  3) Adjust the HTML 5 specification so that following the guidance  
developed in step #2 doesn't render the output document of the editor  
invalid, because it would be non-sensical for one spec to tell  
authoring tool developers "do X" and another to tell "don't do X" and  
making some syntax invalid would make some tool vendors avoid the  
syntax even if doing so lead to a worse outcome considering step #1.  
(Note that defining a markup construct as invalid by definition means  
that authoring tools must not emit that markup construct.)

  4) Adjust validators to comply with the result of step #3, so that  
output from tools complying with guidance from step #2 isn't reported  
as invalid.

  5) Provide optional diagnostic help for validator users who wish to  
evaluate text alternatives or lack thereof in a way that doesn't  
motivate authoring tool vendors to fail to comply with the guidance  
from step #2. (Consider the Image Report feature of

As far as I can tell, the WAI Consensus jumps to step #3 leaving step  
#2 unclear.

Henri Sivonen

Received on Sunday, 16 August 2009 13:57:33 UTC