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Re: Creating accessible tables for layout and data: alt attributes

From: Joel Ward <ward_joel@bah.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 11:11:49 -0500
Message-ID: <009301c1aa71$fd92d790$19ab509c@BAH505131>
To: "WAI List" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Hi Kynn,

I agree about that.  The author is the content owner, and ultimately decides
what we can see and read.

However, I feel user is the one who should decide whether to read or ignore
the information.  If the author can add simple alt text to an image to
convey what's in the image, then user has the option whether to interpret it
or not.

If the author feels only visual users deserve to know about their images,
then I feel they may be discriminating.  Since it's easy enough to add alt
text, why not just add it?  And like I said before, if the image isn't
important enough for alt text, why include it at all?

I realize this is a touchy subject, and there isn't one answer for all
situations.  But since we have the alt attribute I think it should be used,
and used properly.


P.S.  This opinion has developed in the past few weeks from reading
discussions posted to this list.  Am I going in the wrong direction?

----- Original Message -----
From: <kynn-eda@idyllmtn.com>
To: "Joel Ward" <ward_joel@bah.com>
Cc: "WAI List" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2002 10:59 AM
Subject: Re: Creating accessible tables for layout and data: alt attributes

> Joel wrote:
> > Of course, that example was about important information, not decorative
> > information.  But the argument can be made that the user should be the
> > to filter what is important and what is not important.
> No, the author is the one who can determine the purpose of the page. The
> purpose of the page is not determined by the user. Therefore, authorial
> intent needs to be the decision-making factor behind the decision as to
> what is important and what is not.
> In a way, this is simply practical common sense -- there's one author (or
> one group of authors, functioning collectively) and millions of potential
> users. As precognition and telepathy techniques have yet to be developed,
> the author's viewpoint must prevail.
> Also, reasonably speaking, there is no way to enforce an accessibility
> principle that puts user desires over authorial intent, even if that were
> in some way desirable. (It's not.)
> A decision will always need to be made as to "what is important on this
> page" and what is not -- and that will be the author's decision. What we
> need to do is give the author sound advice on how to make this decision in
> a way that does not exclude members of his audience. We -don't- need to
> claim that the author has no right to make the decision which he clearly
> does, and we don't need to place unfulfillable requirements (e.g. "give
> ALL information to ALL users") which the author would not be able to
> meet.
> --Kyn
Received on Thursday, 31 January 2002 11:11:51 UTC

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