Re: DRAFT response Re[3]: Request for PFWG WAI review of Omitting alt Attribute for Critical Content

I concur with this thread. Omitting alt is a backwards step and the reason 
that it makes validation possible or more practical is not enough to 
warrant eliminating the appearance of alt altogether, which is precisely 
what would happen if it were not required. I also concur with Jason - two 
possibilities: alt="" or alt="<something meaningful>". However, this is a 
jdugment call, not a matter of syntax so at least by requiring it we force 
(probably via the tooling) authors to at least consider it.

--> Mike Squillace
IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center
Austin, TX


"Steven Faulkner" <> 
Sent by:
11/29/2007 05:00 AM


Re: DRAFT response Re[3]: Request for PFWG WAI review of Omitting alt 
Attribute for Critical Content

hi, all

jason wrote:

> Furthermore, the most important concept is that there should be only two
> syntactically distinct possibilities:
> 1. Alt with a non-null string, providing an alternative to the image.
> 2. Alt with a null string, signifying that the image is an artifact of
> formatting.
> There should not be a third - an omitted alt - which ought, as Charles
> suggests, to trigger a syntax error that can be detected by authoring 
> and markup validators.

I agree with Jason on this,  the current HTML 5 spec needs to be
changed so that alt is a required attribute (as it is in HTML 4). As
omitting the alt attribute does not provide any practical information
to user agents about the significance, nature or intent of the author
in regards to the information contained within an image.

On 29/11/2007, Jason White <> wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 29, 2007 at 10:48:53AM +0100, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
> > I think we should be clearer.
> >
> > [[[ If an image is a key part of the content, the alt attribute
> > must not be specified with an empty value. ]]]
> >
> > Is very important. I think we should request that a missing alt value 
> > considered invalid, although for accessibility reasons it is preferred 
> > the more serious error of marking meaningful content which requires an
> > alternative with alt=""
> I support Charles' comments.
> HTML generating applications (including authoring tools) should not 
> alt="" unless reasonable measures have been taken to ensure that the 
> belongs to the decorative class. This last point is an authoring tool
> requirement which I am sure can be handled in ATAG, if it is not there
> already.

with regards

Steve Faulkner
Technical Director - TPG Europe
Director - Web Accessibility Tools Consortium |
Web Accessibility Toolbar -

Received on Thursday, 29 November 2007 14:14:19 UTC