W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > wai-xtech@w3.org > August 2008

Re: Flickr and alt

From: David Poehlman <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2008 18:52:28 -0400
Message-ID: <A244E1826595480383BC2D4B08C5D614@HANDS>
To: "Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Cc: "Eric Eggert" <w3c@yatil.de>, "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>


I don't think a spec should require accessibility but neither should it 
stiffle it's possibility.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk>
To: "David Poehlman" <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>
Cc: "Eric Eggert" <w3c@yatil.de>; "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>
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 6:45 PM
Subject: Re: Flickr and alt

David Poehlman wrote:
> I disagree.  if they can upload images through a web browser, they can 
> write
> an alt.  Now, the issue is and I agree it is an edge case that many of the
> photos are transmitted via different means.  Are they still accompanied by
> text which explains or can be used to replace them?  Why build a ramp to 
> the
> building if I can't fit through the door?

As both an accessibility advocate and avid Flickr user, I'll break my
lengthy silence on this issue here for a second with some thoughts...

For many users, myself included, Flickr is a personal online photo
storage, where I can then choose to share my photos with friends. It's
an online extension of my local photo filestore, with the ability to
open it up to others easily. Now, I usually write reasonable titles and
descriptions, backed up with some accurate tagging etc. But often, I do
bulk uploads of 50+ images in one go. In the latter case, my titles are
usually generic (until I get a chance to retitle the odd shot or two)
and descriptions are blank or generic as well. And if there was an
additional field to input alt text, I'd keep it generic as well in bulk
uploads. Now, this is "bad", but for my purpose and view of Flickr I'm
fine with it. It's my personal choice, and it fits with my current need
- to share my photographs with friends and loved ones, all of which can
see. It is quite distinct from a public website. My intention when
uploading to Flickr is not to publish to the public, but publish to a
very specific known group of people. Using it as an example of when to
require alt or not is a red herring, in my opinion.

On a broader subject, to me this whole debate (and the ones we had ages
ago about table headers etc) comes down to: is it the job of the HTML
spec to *mandate* accessibility, or is it to simply provide all the
building blocks, all the hooks that enable authors to produce accessible
markup, and removes those known to cause inaccesible markup (e.g. purely
presentational elements)? As a separate example from alt, should table
markup fail formal validation in the absence of proper thead, tbody, th,
etc? Or is it enough that the spec still contains these constructs, but
doesn't mandate them?

Sorry, a bit rambly and incongruous, but hopefully you catch my drift

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
www.splintered.co.uk | www.photographia.co.uk
Co-lead, Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force
Received on Monday, 18 August 2008 22:53:13 UTC

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