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

From: James Craig <jcraig@apple.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 11:08:01 -0800
Message-id: <16817C71-5F00-41A1-9AF0-F9DCC43C7587@apple.com>
Cc: David MacDonald <david100@sympatico.ca>, Janina Sajka <janina@rednote.net>, HTML Accessibility Task Force <public-html-a11y@w3.org>, WCAG WG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, "public-comments-wcag20@w3.org" <public-comments-wcag20@w3.org>, Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>, "kirsten@can-adapt.com" <kirsten@can-adapt.com>
To: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
A possible compromise could be to throw both a markup validation error and an accessibility *warning*… thoughts?

> On Nov 27, 2013, at 7:35 AM, Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@målform.no> wrote:
> 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 <david100@sympatico.ca> 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  
>>> http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/roles#textalternativecomputation 
>>> --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:
>>> http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-TECHS/F65.html 
>>> Proposed failure here (see test procedure)
>>> Cheers,
>>> David MacDonald
>>> CanAdapt Solutions Inc.
>>> Tel:  613.235.4902
>>> http://ca.linkedin.com/in/davidmacdonald100
>>> www.Can-Adapt.com
>>>  Adapting the web to all users
>>>            Including those with disabilities
Received on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 19:08:29 UTC

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