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Examples of when people need text alternatives for images

From: Shawn Henry <shawn@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2010 15:36:15 -0500
Message-ID: <4C48ABBF.8020707@w3.org>
To: "EOWG (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Dear EOWG,

I've just typed up our comments from a recent teleconference discussion[1] of "HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives, Working Draft 24 June 2010"[2]. I looked at one point more carefully and have ideas *for your review and comment*.

Currently under "Examples of scenarios where users benefit from text alternatives for images" at http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/WD-html-alt-techniques-20100624/#example-benefits is listed:
- They have a very slow connection. 
- They have a vision impairment and use text to speech software. 
- They have a cognitive impairment and use text to speech software. 
- They are using a text-only browser. 
- They are listening to the page being read out by a voice Web browser.

We had already commented that this needs more explanation for people who are not aware, for example, of screen reader use. Below is an additional draft suggestion for an edit of that list and its intro.

Examples of when people need text alternatives for images:
- Users who are blind or have a visual impairment and use a screen reader that reads aloud the information from the web page (text to speech software). [link to section in new How People with Disabilities Use the Web once its done.]
- Users who are blind and use a dynamic braille display to get information from the web page. 
- Users who have a cognitive impairment that makes is difficult or impossible to read, and use a screen reader.
- Users who have a slow connection and turn off images to speed download.
- Users who turn off images to decrease bandwidth use in order to lower their Internet usage fees.
- Users with a text-only browser. 
- Users listening to the page being read out by a voice browser, for example, as they drive or otherwise cannot read the web page.

There are many benefits for web site developers and owners to include text alternatives for images as well; for example, it improves search engine optimization (SEO) because the text alternatives are available to search engines, whereas images themselves basically are not.

[could link <a href="http://www.w3.org/WAI/bcase/fin.html#seo">improves search engine optimization (SEO)</a>]

Please reply with comments on the above draft idea.


[1] Minutes from the EOWG teleconference are at http://www.w3.org/2010/07/02-eo-minutes#item01
Please keep in mind that these are rough minutes and may not reflect what was actually said.

[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/WD-html-alt-techniques-20100624/

Shawn Lawton Henry
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
e-mail: shawn@w3.org
phone: +1.617.395.7664
about: http://www.w3.org/People/Shawn/
Received on Thursday, 22 July 2010 20:36:23 UTC

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