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Re: Investigating the proposed alt attribute recommendations in HTML 5

From: Jon Barnett <jonbarnett@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 08:32:16 -0500
Message-ID: <bde87dd20708300632m1ab8d9b3s7423a289723f3d8@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Leif Halvard Silli" <lhs@malform.no>
Cc: HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>, wai-xtech@w3.org

On 8/29/07, Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no> wrote:
> >> On 29/08/2007, Jon Barnett <jonbarnett@gmail.com> wrote:
> > 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?
> 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?
> --
> leif halvard silli

For the record, no, I wasn't trying to put more weight on their
semantics than their functions, but I'm implying that the semantics
exist for a reason, and they can still be presented differently.  When
@alt is present, JAWS could announce the @alt text without announcing
the presence of a graphic.  If @alt is missing and @title is present,
JAWS could announce the presence of a graphic and the @title text.
(If both are present JAWS can still make it possible to present @title
if it wants to in some way, just like it might for any other element
with a @title).  The point being that there's a difference in the
semantics, and a slight difference in their presentation based on
those semantics.  I don't know how feasible that is, but it's a way to
present the content that matches the proposed semantics.

My comment about requiring @title would satisfy the need for
accessible markup without changing semantics.  Are you suggesting that
the semantics of @alt be changed to serve as either an alternative OR
a description?  (Obviously in the given example, @alt-as-a-description
is better than nothing, but I would still prefer the better semantics
instead of codifying @alt-as-a-description)

Jon Barnett
Received on Thursday, 30 August 2007 13:32:27 UTC

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