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Re: [techs] Summary of February 26 2003 teleconference

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 14:18:52 -0500 (EST)
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.BSO.4.40.0303031407110.28556-100000@ns1.seeto.com>

> "alt" is a mandatory text equivalent for <img> that should always
> be present

Note that img is not the only HTML entity that can refer to an
image. Think also of input and button, and of course object.

>         * "longdesc" is preferred over "title" as supplemental text
> equivalent for <img> (i.e., we don't recommend "title" for <img> although it
> is generally recommended elsewhere)

Reasons, please?

An enormous range of user agents support title, including nearly
every browser in use in the last three years save for Netscape 4 and
currently-released builds of Safari. Lynx even supports title on
certain elements.

Virtually no user agents support longdesc, though, IIRC, both the
leading screen readers, iCab, and Mozilla/NN7 do.

title is very easy to add, almost trivially so. Authors who like
title (and this includes a great many indie Web developers) put
titles on everything. longdesc requires the creation of a separate
document, which is then called by the longdesc attribute.
Few authoring tools make adding longdesc easy.

Moreover, the *need* for that much writingspace-- longdesc is
essentially unlimited-- is actually rare. I would wager that *most*
images used online-- *most*-- can be adequately rendered in text
equivalents using alt and title. Few indeed require longdesc.

WAI has an inexplicable bias against title, no doubt because it can
be used virtually anywhere in HTML, making it Not Really Our Kind of
Thing Here--


-- and an inexplicable insistence that longdesc is a really great
thing and *what fools those mortals be* for not using it more.
longdesc isn't a mandatory attribute of img and you can't force
people to use it.

> There are User Agent issues with "alt" and "title" used together

And they are?

Remember, WCAG 2.0 must not be custom-crafted to work around Jaws
incompatibilities, to draw a likely example.

> Action Item: Everyone - Look for examples of sites that do and do not
> organize themselves into "major sections" and keep themselves from being
> "long documents".

How can a document that is not "long" have "major sections"?


  Joe Clark  |  joeclark@joeclark.org
  Author, _Building Accessible Websites_
  <http://joeclark.org/access/> | <http://joeclark.org/book/>
Received on Monday, 3 March 2003 14:20:19 UTC

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