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Re: comments on 'private use' section of proposal - Sanity check

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 04:21:17 -0500
Message-ID: <AANLkTilBmJutwQkG8qjSeECAQZe8QYO8s907ZWJ1WqmZ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Cc: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Hi Benjamin,

> At any rate, there's a direct conflict between requiring conforming HTML
> documents to include text alternatives *and* requiring authoring tools to
> generate conforming documents, so long as we accept tools will (should?)
> insert new images into documents, then publish those documents even when
> they are missing text alternatives. They are both good principles, but one
> of them has to bend.

That is a key observation. Thank you for stating it.

The spec states "Authoring tools and markup generators must generate
conforming documents" [1]. However, it grants an exception to the
address element because "authoring tools are not yet able to determine
author intent".

As in the case of an authoring tool not knowing author intent for an
address element, it cannot know author intent in the case of text
alternatives. Gez Lemon has stated the situation clearly,

"When an authoring tool doesn't have anything useful to put in for the
alt text, the tool shouldn't put anything in. A good authoring tool
will check for missing alt text and offer to assist the user in
repairing the content. If an author is adamant they're not going to
provide alt text, there is no requirement that says the authoring tool
should provide it in place of the author. In fact, it's just the
opposite, as the authoring tool could not possibly know the author's
intent. In this scenario, the authoring tool should not include the
alt attribute at all, and the resulting markup should be considered
invalid. It should be considered invalid because it is inaccessible,
and not perceivable by some people. If the tool allows alt text to be
provided, then the tool would be considered compliant (on this
particular issue), even though the resulting markup would not be
compliant, as the user chose not to make the content compliant." [2]

If any generated or missing mechanism is included in HTML5, it should
only be included at the element level where it could be dealt with on
an image-by-image case with a detection method such as a generated or
missing attribute, (as WAI CG said that they wouldn't object to).
rather than at the document level.  A missing attribute has some
advantages [3]. The generator mechanism as specified is actively
harmful to accessibility.

Best Regards,

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/WD-html5-20100624/infrastructure.html#editors
[2] http://juicystudio.com/article/html5-alt-text-authoring-tools.php
[3] http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/ImgElement20090126#missing

Laura L. Carlson
Received on Monday, 19 July 2010 09:21:48 UTC

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