Re: Request to Reconsider Alt Guidance Location

Hi all,

a clarification

Janina wrote:

"May I also point out that the author and editor of the Techniques
document himself requests this move? Does that count for nothing?"

I accepted the accessibility taskforce consensus decision that IF the
normative non machine checkable authoring requirements for text
alternatives (i.e those that define what is an appropriate text
alternative for a non text object, in this case the img element) are
removed from the HTML5 specification in favour of a reference to the
normative WCAG 2.0 guidelines for text alternatives, the HTML5 text
alternative specification which I currently edit would be moved to the
WAI domain and eveolve as part of the WCAG 2.0 techniques that provide
comprehensive techniques for a range of specific formats. My position
is that IF the normative non machine checkable authoring requirements
for text alternatives remain in the HTML5 specification, the HTML5
techniques specification should also remain in the HTML WG.

My reasoning for this is that the normative non machine checkable text
alternative requirements are a technology specific subset of the
technology agnostic normative requirements prescribed in WCAG 2.0.
The fact that the text alternative container is an HTML alt attribute
does not infer any special right to re-define normatively what an
appropiate text alternative for a non text object is and no argument
has been put forward for this. Redefining what is an appropriate text
alternative based on format, in cases where the format has no effect
upon why it should or should not be considered conformimg leads to
fragmented sets of non standardized contradictory conformance
requirements. Which is the situation we currently have.  I do not
believe this is the best for users with disabilites or the web.

I consider that the best method to counter this requirement
fragmentation in the case where the normative requirements remain in
the HTML5 specification is through the continued presence of an
alternative set of requirements (the HTML5 techniques specification)
that does not contradict WCAG 2.0 and is designed to provide a set of
technology specific normative requirements that embodies the
technology agnostic requirements in WCAG 2.0, rather than one which
seeks to override and countermand WCAG 2.0.


On 24 February 2012 04:07, Janina Sajka <> wrote:
> Leif Halvard Silli writes:
>> Janina Sajka, Thu, 23 Feb 2012 17:05:05 -0500:
>> > Leif Halvard Silli writes:
>> >>>>>> Btw, I agree that two HTML5 specs should not contradict each others.
>> >>>>>> But I do think HTML5 'proper' should contain basic advice and rules.
>> >>>>>
>> >>>>> Are you asserting that alternative text applies only to HTML?
>> >>>>
>> >>>> Why do you ask, when the CP *does* suggest to have have a HTML5
>> >>>> specific guide - in the form of Steve's alt techniques spec? Changing
>> >>>
>> >> Sorry. I admit that it was hard to grok.
>> >>
>> > OK. Then let me point you to items #3 and #4 in the third paragraph of
>> > the Summary section. What is your response? Do you agree, or no?
>> >
>> > Is alternative text just about HTML or no?
>> Of course not. E.g. the ARIA 1.0 spec is for any mark-up based host
>> language. But it is not new info that alternative text is not an issue
>> specific to HTML5.
> But, if it's not specific to HTml 5, how can you justify trying to keep
> it HTML 5 space? Do you expect people working with PDF, with SVG, with
> ODF, with whatever other markup where this guidance is appropriate to
> somehow know they need to find their way into HTML documents to get this
> guidance? How does that work when the well-known location of this work
> has been WAI-WCAG for over 15 years? And, it seems the people willing to
> continue working on the guidance are actually WCAG people, not HTML
> people?
> May I also point out that the author and editor of the Techniques
> document himself requests this move? Does that count for nothing?
>> In a way, what you say, is that Ian and Steve's two spec's are so good
> No, I'm sorry. They disagree. Ian's must go.
>> with regard to @alt, that what their content should be lifted out of
>> HTML5 and be made applicable for — I guess — images in general. So on
>> one side the CP focuses on problems within the HTML working group, on
>> the other side it says that is has produced good and useful texts on
>> @alt.
> Yes, Steve, with the help of other from the accessibility group has
> produced very valuable documentation that needs to be widely shared and
> properly maintaned. This is not a minor issue for a11y.
> As the CP explains, it was produced in this space because Ian and others
> here were getting so much about alternative text wrong. But, that's not
> a reason to hang on to it like some kind of trophy.
>> At any rate: The document 'HTML5 techniques for providing useful text
>> alternatives' remains a HTML5 specific document. Why else should the
>> HTML working group be co-responsible for it?
>> --
> No, it's not HTML specific. Perhaps its examples are HTML specific at
> this time, because this was its initial audience. But, the examples, and
> its title, can and must be globalized.
> Janina
>> Leif Halvard Silli
> --
> Janina Sajka,   Phone:  +1.443.300.2200
> Chair, Open Accessibility
> Linux Foundation      
> Chair, Protocols & Formats
> Web Accessibility Initiative
> World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

with regards

Steve Faulkner
Technical Director - TPG | |
HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives -
Web Accessibility Toolbar -

Received on Friday, 24 February 2012 11:10:57 UTC