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

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2012 14:58:11 +0300
Message-ID: <CAJQvAucDK-BTzhGtGri9XX=Ac-TeDz+iWeeNeMNdsmW0hsMt3g@mail.gmail.com>
To: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Cc: "Michael[tm] Smith" <mike@w3.org>, public-html@w3.org, public-html-a11y@w3.org, "Edward O'Connor" <eoconnor@apple.com>
On Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 5:45 AM, John Foliot <john@foliot.ca> wrote:
> Now, if the database has an image, but not a related alt-text, then the
> output of the template would be:
>   <img src="mikesmith.jpg" alt="">
> Yes, this is hardly *useful* to the non-sighted user, but harm? It harms the
> photo-owner as much as the end user, and that "harm" is pretty benign to
> start with.  However, at the very least the alt="" has the net effect of
> also mapping to role="presentation" and thus silencing screen readers.
> However, depending on the screen reader and user-settings, the following
> code sample *WOULD* cause harm:
>   <img src="567dfg.jpg">
> ...as the screen reader will begin to apply some heuristics to try and
> provide a useful, unique distinguisher for that image, and will end up
> voicing "image: five six seven dee eff gee dot jay-peg". (This is default
> behavior for JAWS today) This is why WCAG 2 continues to recommend that at a
> minimum authors insert alt="" for all images (although it presumes that
> images with a null alt string are decorative or have no value)
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20120103/H67

If it's believed to be true that <img src="567dfg.jpg"> always
provides a worse user experience to the point of "harm" than <img
src="567dfg.jpg" alt="">, it seems to me the logical conclusion is
that the behavior of JAWS is harmful is should change, because it's
obvious that JAWS could be programmed to make <img src="567dfg.jpg">
exactly like <img src="567dfg.jpg" alt="">.

> Here's Some Real Harm:
> How does changing the above to <img src="567dfg.jpg" relaxed=""> improve the
> end experience for the non-sighed user?

I believe Ted's proposal hinges on the assumption that it's useful to
be able to distinguish between images that don't have alternative text
but whose existence is acknowledged by screen readers and images whose
existence isn't acknowledged by screen readers.

Do you believe this assumption is incorrect? In the specific context
of JAWS? In principle?

Two years ago, you said 'dummying up the image element with either
alt="" or role="presentation" is wrong, and yet forcing a screen
reader to read aloud the image file name is also wrong', which to me
suggests you agreed with the assumption at least on the level of
principle two years ago.

I think Ted's proposal makes sense if the assumption I stated above is
correct, and I believe it to be correct.

If the assumption is correct, it's important that the relaxation be
controlled by the markup generator rather than the person running the
validator, because the sort of developers of markup generators who
want the output of their generator to validate would make it so that
the output validates with the default settings of validators, since
they would assume that people who judge the generator by the validity
of its output would judge it with the default settings. Thus, if we
want to avoid the developers of markup generators inserting alt="",
role="presentation" or alt="IMG1234.jpg", we should make sure that the
default behavior of validators gives no incentive to insert that sort
of things.

> Nope, not from me - I will be objecting to this at WBS Survey time.

Two years ago, Maciej asked: "can we compromise on a per-element
generator exemption mechanism, rather than outright removal or
retention of the current per-document mechanism?"

And you replied (still in
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Aug/0155.html ):
> If pressed, I personally like @noalt (or is that noalt="noalt"
> for our XHTML5 friends?), but am not religious about it.
> It doesn't solve any real problems, but it *is* "truth in advertising". If
> after all best efforts a content creator simply chooses to not do the
> right thing, dummying up the image element with either alt="" or
> role="presentation" is wrong, and yet forcing a screen reader to read
> aloud the image file name is also wrong. Having an image with an
> auto-generated @noalt (or equiv) essentially says "yes, this author is
> inconsiderate, but he chooses to be so" (maybe we should consider an @jerk
> attribute <grin>)"

Have you changed your mind or is your objection to the name "relaxed"
and names "noalt" or "jerk" would still be okay with you?

Henri Sivonen
Received on Wednesday, 1 August 2012 11:58:40 UTC

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