Re: WCAG considering amending F65 to NOT fail missing ALT text if title or aria-label is present

James Craig, Fri, 22 Nov 2013 15:47:44 -0800:
> +1 to NOT fail an accessibility verification test if <img> has no 
> @alt but does a non-empty value for @aria-label or @title.
> There should still be a markup validation error, but not an 
> accessibility error.

I am in favor of James' solution, as it it is the closest to separate 
the concerns.

Clearly, it would be more robust to use @alt, so ideally one should get 
more pluses (or A’s) for using @alt, though,

Leif Halvard Silli

> On Nov 22, 2013, at 3:27 PM, David MacDonald <> wrote:
>> On behalf of the WCAG working group, I have an action item to solicit
>> responses from the wider community regarding a proposed amendment to WCAG
>> failure technique F65 regarding missing ALT. Currently; if an <img> element
>> is missing from an ALT attribute the page fails WCAG SC 1.1.1 Level A. Some
>> are proposing that we allow authors to use the aria-label, aria-labelledby,
>> and title attributes INSTEAD of ALT. 
>> So under the amended failure technique NONE of the following would fail
>> WCAG:
>> <img src="../images/giraffe.jpg" title="Giraffe grazing on tree branches"/>
>> <img src="../images/giraffe.jpg" aria-label="Giraffe grazing on tree
>> branches"/>
>> <img src="../images/giraffe.jpg" aria-labelledby="123"/>
>> <p id="123"> Giraffe grazing on tree branches</p>
>> As you can imagine there are strong opinions all around on this so I
>> suggested we get a sense of what other groups such as the HTML5 A11y TF and
>> PF think.
>> Those in favour of the change provide the following rational: 
>> --These alternatives on the img element work in assistive technology
>> --The aria spec says these attributes should get an accessible NAME in the
>> API  
>> --They say it's easy to teach beginner programmers to just always use an
>> aria label on everything, rather than requiring a label on form fields and
>> alt on images
>> --They feel as a failure F65 is very strong if fails a page for 
>> missing ALT,
>> especially if other things work, and they would like to soften it to allow
>> other things that work.
>> --html 5 allows a <figure><legend> combination instead of alt, so they feel
>> WCAG will have to change F65 anyway to allow a figure with a legend, and
>> that helps open the door to this discussion
>> Those in favour of the status quo (which fails missing alt text) 
>> provide the
>> following rational:
>> --aria-label, labelledby and title, are not really suitable attributes for
>> img alternative text because they implies a label or title, rather than an
>> alternate text, so it is not a semantic equivalent
>> --title is not well supported
>> --some feel that the aria spec is not in any way suggesting these as
>> replacements to ALT.
>> --aria instructs authors to use native html where possible, and they could
>> not come up with viable use cases of omitting alt text
>> --there are hundreds of millions of dollars invested in current evaluation
>> tools, and methodologies, and this would represent a major departure from
>> one of the most basic accessibility convention, that is almost as 
>> old as the
>> web and is the "rock star" of accessibility
>> --it could cost a lot of money to change guidance to developers etc..., and
>> muddy the waters on a very efficient current evaluation mechanism
>> --when the figure/legend is supported by AT we can amend F65 but that is a
>> different issue and the semantics of this construct are OK for text
>> alternatives, rather than the label/labelledby/title options
>> --it may cause some confidence problems to WCAG legislation, because it
>> represents a strong loosening to a fundamental Success Criteria, an
>> unnecessary change that doesn't help the cause of accessibility, but just
>> complicates things
>> --ALT is better supported and the text appears when images are turned off.
>> --initial twitter feedback from the community is strongly against changing
>> this failure
>> There are probably other reasons on both sides which we hope to hear 
>> ... but
>> these should start it off. Please give your opinions and reasons.
>> Current technique here:
>> Proposed failure here (see test procedure)
>> Cheers,
>> David MacDonald
>> CanAdapt Solutions Inc.
>> Tel:  613.235.4902

>>   Adapting the web to all users
>>             Including those with disabilities

Received on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 15:36:33 UTC