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Re: Flickr and alt

From: Eric Eggert <w3c@yatil.de>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2008 19:46:45 +0200
To: "David Poehlman" <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>
Message-Id: <4D3CAA3F-4FF8-4714-BB46-0A94DF63F0D9@yatil.de>
Cc: "Jon Barnett" <jonbarnett@gmail.com>, "Philip TAYLOR \(Ret'd\)" <P.Taylor@rhul.ac.uk>, "Anne van Kesteren" <annevk@opera.com>, "James Graham" <jg307@cam.ac.uk>, "Steven Faulkner" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>, "W3C WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>, <public-html@w3.org>

What confuses me about that whole alternative text on flickr issue is  
that flickr is an edge case, not a typical use case for alternative  
text. Images on flickr are not part of the content, they are the  
content and there are some administration options (and a social  
network) built around that content.

The flickr users do a lot to make their images accessible and describe  
them. There are tags, thereís the description, the title, comments.  
Each piece of information is worth nothing, neither to a search engine  
nor to a screen reader software. But as a whole those informations can  
drae quite a good picture of the image, quite frankly a better picture  
than the most alt texts give in the web at the moment.

What we really need is imo not yet another sub use of the alt  
attribute but a way to connect those informations to the image and  
indicating that there is an image in the page even if the alt text is  
not present.

Iím a huge fan of <figure> and <legend> for these use cases.

I agree that it has to be our goal to make the web more accessible but  
forcing users, many without a tech background, to enter an abstract  
alternative text and a description is too much. Flickr has to depend  
on their users to enter descriptions that make sense.

If flickr would out of the blue require description and/or alternative  
text, one would find a lot of garbage descriptions there which is the  
counter effect of what we want to achieve.

Eric Eggert

David Poehlman wrote:

> accessibility is right not privilige.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jon Barnett" <jonbarnett@gmail.com>
> To: "Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd)" <P.Taylor@rhul.ac.uk>
> Cc: "Anne van Kesteren" <annevk@opera.com>; "David Poehlman"
> <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>; "James Graham" <jg307@cam.ac.uk 
> >;
> "Steven Faulkner" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>; "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch 
> >;
> "W3C WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>; <public-html@w3.org>
> Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 1:12 PM
> Subject: Re: Flickr and alt
> On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 8:25 AM, Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd)
> <P.Taylor@rhul.ac.uk>wrote:
>> Anne van Kesteren wrote:
>>> [...]I was trying to point out that Flickr cannot start requiring
>>> users to <perform some task> as that will simply kill their  
>>> business.
>> Exactly the same argument was adduced about requiring
>> public houses to require their customers to either
>> refrain from smoking completely, or to smoke outside.
>> The pubs /didn't/ go out of business, and most of their
>> customers came to accept that -- by following the rules --
>> they were improving the environment for everybody.
>> Philip TAYLOR
> Forcing content on a user-generated content web site, by law, to  
> meet a set
> of accessibility standards is asinine and frightening at the same  
> time.
> There are plenty of countries that would never go for such a thing.
> Smoking laws are a poor analogy.  A better analogy would be fining a
> restaurant for not forcing everyone in a restaurant to use sign  
> language
> while they talk.
> There is absolutely NO chance I would ever upload 100 photos to a  
> web site
> and write a sentence of text for each picture only to have that  
> sentence be
> invisible to 99% of the public.  If I'm going to write 100 sentences,
> they're going to be captions viewable alongside a photo and not  
> alternate
> text for a photo.  For this reason, I see Flickr as a silly use case  
> for
> @alt as I can only ever foresee Flickr using this:
> <figure>
> <img src="image.jpg" whatever-markup-goes-here>
> <legend>My wife and myself in front of the Niagra Falls, a proper
> description of this image</legend>
> </figure>
> As this would be silly (it's redundant):
> <figure>
> <img src="image.jpg" alt="My wife and myself in front of the Niagra  
> Falls, a
> proper description of this image">
> <legend>My wife and myself in front of the Niagra Falls, a proper
> description of this image</legend>
> </figure>
> And this would never happen:
> <figure>
> <img src="image.jpg" alt="Proper alternate text I'm going to write  
> for 100
> images but is only presented when the image is not visible">
> <legend>My wife and myself in front of the Niagra Falls, a proper
> description of this image</legend>
> </figure>
> I'm also sure at least 50 of those images wouldn't get captioned at  
> all
> because I simply don't have the time.  If Flickr suddenly required  
> me to
> caption all 50 of those images, I would just insert junk into the  
> textbox
> for the caption or I would find a photo sharing site without such a  
> silly
> requirement for me, as the user.
> -- 
> Jon Barnett
Received on Monday, 18 August 2008 18:40:42 UTC

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