Re: img@relaxed CP [was: CfC: Close ISSUE-206: meta-generator by Amicable Resolution]

Peter Winnberg <>, 2012-08-01 10:42 +0200:

> This specification is (or at the very least should be in my opinion)
> about best practice. I think all non-presentational images should have
> an alternate text.  Providing alternate text is one of the most basic
> things you can do when it comes to improving the accessibility of your
> site.

I think that's all undisputed.

> That Flickr doesn’t provide a way to enter alternate text at all (that
> I can find anyway) on the photos does not mean that this specification
> needs to change.

The use case behind this CP is about more than just Flickr.

> What is means is that the site will be less useable
> (maybe not useable at all) for people who cannot see the photos on the
> site. And that they cannot claim “technical excellence” by saying that
> their site is conforming to the markup specification which, in my
> opinion, is great because it will hopefully encourage others not to
> make the same mistake.

They could not claim their site is conforming anyway if the site is not
providing alternative text for images that require it.

> If they want to have a validator that can ignore certain errors /
> warnings, it is not very hard to make such changes in-house.
> Technically this proposal is actually worse than the generator
> exception. Because you would need to add this attribute to each
> non-presentational image that lack alternate text to get around
> validator “issues”. This means that for every image a user would have
> to download extra bytes without any benefit for the user at all.

Yeah agreed it would be preferable to not have users end up downloading
extra bytes. But that's just one of a variety of different costs among
other costs the alternatives end up imposing. It could be that the net cost
is less if we introduce this attribute.

> This is not the case with this the generator exception.

The generator exception introduces other costs -- one of the biggest ones
being that authors may not be aware of the effects on validation of having
a meta generator instance in their documents. The "relaxed" attribute on
any img is a more obvious indicator of something being different about that
particular image.

After some discussion about "relaxed" on IRC earlier today, Hixie proposed
a renaming of it to "generator-unable-to-provide-required-alt" in part to
make it even more obvious:

> Also both the generator exception and this proposal seem to ignore the
> fact that this kind of relaxed validation has been done in the past,
> using the HTML 4.01 / XHTML 1.0 Transitional doctype that allowed more
> presentational markup.

I don't think that's being ignored. I'm just not sure that others agree
that's relevant.

> I’m not saying that a document level switch is a good idea though.
> I’ll be objecting to this proposed relaxed attribute because of
> reasons stated above and other reasons that other people here have
> provided.

I hope you'll still keep an open mind about it and give others an
opportunity to make a stronger case for it. The CP is likely to be refined
quite a bit further yet, and I expect there's going to be quite a bit more
discussion about it here yet.


Michael[tm] Smith

Received on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 11:39:01 UTC