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Re: Investigating the proposed alt attribute recommendations in HTML 5

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 05:43:52 +0200
Message-ID: <d9590457dbcf23366885722c026e475d@10013.local>
To: "Jon Barnett" <jonbarnett@gmail.com>
Cc: "Gez Lemon" <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, "Steven Faulkner" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>, wai-xtech@w3.org

2007-08-30 03:41:50 +0200 "Jon Barnett" <jonbarnett@gmail.com>:
> On 8/29/07, Gez Lemon <gez.lemon@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On 29/08/2007, Jon Barnett <jonbarnett@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> One of the conclusions is that accessibility is harmed by omitting
>>> @alt because JAWS will instead read the filename (or the entire @src
>>> attribute).  Is it helpful that JAWS does this at all?  […]
>> If nothing else is available, the image name is chose, as
>> it might reveal something  […]

> Does JAWS first fall back to @title instead of @src?  If so, that
> would be better.  All of the @alt attributes on that page would serve
> better as @title attributes - they're descriptions, not alternates.
> (And in turn, I wouldn't be opposed to requiring @title when @alt is
> omitted)

So, you are putting the most weight on the semantic meaning of "title" and "alt" - rather than on the functions they have: Alt= is not just for AT users. If you turn off images in your browser etc, you should see the alt text. Would you rather see the TITLE= text instead, when ALT= is not available? And then, why not let both ALT= and TITLE= be tool-tip texts?

I really think that people often do not manage to understand the difference between ALT= text and TITLE= text - and that this insecurity in itself causes that the one or the other or both are omitted.

The HTML5 draft says that TITLE and ALT should be showed in different ways. But perhaps is enough to say that they should be showed in different ways only if the element has both a TITLE and an ALT text?

The strange thing is that perhaps Internet Explorer's behaviour, which reveals ALT as tool tip, perhaps leads to more use of ALT= text than does the behaviour of the other browsers!
> leif halvard silli quoted the HTML5 draft:
>> «If this attribute is omitted from an element, then it
>> implies that the title attribute of the nearest ancestor
>> with a title attribute set is also relevant to this element.»
> I don't like how that sounds, and Maciej highlighted that.  It implies
> that the @title in an ancestor <p> applies to an <img>.  It's relevant
> in that the <img> is part of the ancestor paragraph, but it shouldn't
> imply that the @title applies directly to the image...  I'm not even
> sure that sentence is necessary.

Steve's test revealed that this is working fine for these images in Windows Eyes. The link is of course not as direct if the P has a title. Still, this is, in this context, a repair functionality when alt= is not available. Per se that is another subject. 
leif halvard silli
Received on Thursday, 30 August 2007 03:45:16 UTC

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