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Re: some reflections on @alt usage

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2008 09:37:36 -0500
Message-ID: <1c8dbcaa0808200737j377a8d40o4c1d270bca0d7460@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Al Gilman" <Alfred.S.Gilman@ieee.org>
Cc: "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>, "W3C WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>

Ian wrote:
>>     The spec says:
>> When it is possible for alternative text to be provided, for
>> example if the image is part of a series of screenshots in a
>> magazine review, or  part of a comic strip, or is a photograph
>> in a blog entry about that photograph, text that conveys can
>> serve as a substitute for the image must be given as the
>> contents of the alt attribute.
>>      -- http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#a-key
>>     That seems pretty cut and dry to me.

Al wrote:
> It has a gratuitous "when it is possible..."

The phrase "When possible", seems to fail the W3C's quality assurance
requirements, because "when possible" is a subjective term (what is
possible to one person may be impossible to another). This would be a
discretionary item. It would seem that discretionary items should to
be well defined, which is not the case for "when possible" in the
current HTML 5 text.

The Specification Guidelines in the W3C QA Framework advise
specification authors to:

"Provide as much information as possible to narrow the allowable
choices and to increase predictability...Narrowing choices and
increasing predictability enhance the likelihood of interoperability
since the implementer chooses from a reduced sample space. Narrowing
choices, providing more information, and eliminating incorrect choices
increases the chances of correct implementations. An enumerated list
of values is one way to constrain the choice of optionality."

Does  "when possible" meets W3C QA Framework guidelines?

Best Regards,
Laura Carlson
Received on Wednesday, 20 August 2008 14:38:11 UTC

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