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Re: screen readers for macs - also bobby question

From: Bill LaPlant <blaplant@census.gov>
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 16:29:19 -0500
Message-ID: <3E6E552F.69B23BA6@census.gov>
To: Julia Collins <julia80@btinternet.com>
CC: Access Systems <accessys@smart.net>, David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

It seems to me that in providing text descriptions of graphics, we really must
consider the intent of the content provider in deciding the thoroughness of the
descriptions.  If the image is provided to "dress up" the page, not, therefore
adding to the substance of the content, then it would seem to me that the briefer
description would be appropriate for the alt tag.  If, on the otherhand, the image
is illustrative of some key point to be made that amplifies the rest of the content,
then a more detailed description would be appropriate.  If the designers are
enamored of a detailed description of the image used for decorative purposes for
some reason, in addition to the shorter alt tag, they can always add a "D" link
which can be by-passed by the reader in a hurry.

Julia Collins wrote:

> And this brings us back, in a curious circular movement, to where this all
> started:  I have always tried to avoid cluttering the code up with 1 pixel
> spacers, but on ³bobbying² was advised to separate adjacent links with
> something ­ and a 1px gif was suggested (and works beautifully).  having
> done the screen reader test, this makes absolute sense.  Having done the
> screen reader test, I also canıt think of anything more annoying than
> sitting through a load of ³spacer image with no content² alts when I want to
> get to the meat of the page.
> It leads on to the greater debate of where the line is drawn when to
> describe an image or not, and if you do, how much subjectivity goes into the
> description.
> If you are saying something visually metaphorically with the image­ adding
> to the meaning of the page obliquely rather than spelling out visually
> exactly what the text is saying (and if you are using images well you really
> should be doing the former), then how much do you spell out the metaphor in
> the longdesc, and how much do you leave the user to fill in the gaps in a
> purely objective description of the content of the image eg:
> ³smiling white woman with six year old child on her lap. Her wheelchair is
> just visible on the edge of the image²
> or
> ³positive image of woman in a wheelchair²
> I know which one Iıd prefer (the former, if itıs not obvious).
> Julia
> On 11/3/03 6:58 pm, "Bill LaPlant" <blaplant@census.gov> wrote:
> > There are, of course graphics, that are used as "spacers."  This may no be
> > "good design" but it is done all the time.  It seems to legitmate to recommend
> > that the alt tag for these be [alt=" "] rather than [alt="space"]... Bill
> >
> > Access Systems wrote:
> >> On Sat, 8 Mar 2003, David Woolley wrote:
> >>
> >>>> example 2: for purely decorative images it has become
> >>>> general practise to use empty alt attributes.  that is
> >>>> just to satisfy bobby and wai.  how is that more
> >>>> accessible than a missing alt attribute?
> >>>
> >>> A missing alt makes the HTML invalid.  I think the idea was that requiring
> >>> the attribute would make people think about it, but, of course, people just
> >>
> >> and if you are using text, you never know wheather it is "just for
> >> pretty" or critical information...I think EVERY piece of graphic no matter
> >> how unimportant the writer thinks it is (well it must be important he
> >> coded it) it should be left to the reader to decide if it is
> >> valuable. even if the alt tag is "pretty curlicues" it should be there. I
> >> don't think any alt should ever be empty for any reason if it displays for
> >> any user the information should be there for every user.
> >>
> >> Bob
> >>
> >> "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
> >> safety deserve Neither liberty nor safety",    Benjamin Franklin
> >> -   -   -   -   -  -   -   -   -   -   -  -   -   -   -   -   -  -   -
> >>  ASCII Ribbon Campaign                       accessBob
> >>   NO HTML/PDF/RTF in e-mail                  accessys@smartnospam.net
> >>   NO MSWord docs in e-mail                   Access Systems, engineers
> >>   NO attachments in e-mail,  *LINUX powered*  access is a civil right
> >> *#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*#*
> >> #
> >> THIS message and any attachments are CONFIDENTIAL and may be
> >> privileged.  They are intended ONLY for the individual or entity named

William P. LaPlant, Jr.  |  4312 Birchlake Court; Alexandria, VA 22309-1208
Accessibility Engineer   |  Phones: 301-763-4887, home office: 703-360-9184
Technology Research Staff;   Statistical Research Div.;  U.S. Census Bureau
--                       mailto:blaplant@mindspring.com,blaplant@census.gov
I am committed to Children inheriting a culture of unlimited possibilities;
Technology empowering miraculous lives.
Received on Tuesday, 11 March 2003 16:29:57 UTC

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