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Re: HTML5 alt conformance criteria clarifications requested

From: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2008 15:33:59 +0100
Message-ID: <48A6E557.7070708@cam.ac.uk>
To: Steven Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
CC: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>

Steven Faulkner wrote:
> The Current HTM5 spec introduces changes to the criteria for
> conforming to HTML5 in cases where no 'real alternative text' is
> available.
> It would be useful to have some real world use cases clarified in
> respect to the changes:
> 1. When a user uploads an image in flickr (http://www.flickr.com) they
> are given the opportunity to provide a 'description', if they choose
> to provide a description it is placed into the alt attribute of the
> image (plus ' by xxxx').

In the interests of accuracy, I should point out that flickr asks for 
both a "title" and a "description" of the image. The /title/ is used 
inline in the page and in both the alt attribute and the title 
attribute; the description is just used inline in the page.

Arguably one could say that a title is not a text equivalent but users 
would be best served if UAs use @title in a manner similar to @alt if no 
alt text is available (with freedom to do something like say "image 
entitled foo" rather than just "foo"). The argument against that is that 
the title is already available inline so requiring the UA to present it 
twice wouldn't help anyone.
> Is this conforming in HTML5? if not what would be an appropriate alt
> attribute content if no 'real alternative text' is available?

I believe the spec currently requires that flickr set @alt={photo} or 
similar. If you look at how the title and description fields are 
actually used on flickr it's not clear to me what you would gain by 
setting the alt to the value of either of these fields; it is unusual 
for either to provide an actual description of the photo and both are 
available inline anyway. If flickr were to use the HTML 5 <figure> 
element, there would even be an explicit link between the figure and its 
description, without needing it to be repeated.
Received on Saturday, 16 August 2008 14:34:41 UTC

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