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Re: Mandatory and Important

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 19:25:56 +0200
Message-Id: <>
To: W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>


At 18:55 22/08/2008, Dave Singer wrote:

>At 12:44  -0400 22/08/08, David Poehlman wrote:
>>most sane tools should warn that it is missing and not pass it forcing the
>>proper attention to it.  @role still does not cover what can only be human
>>judgements till we get machines that can parse images and make textual sense
>>out of them.
>You cannot assume that the person providing input to the tool that 
>makes HTML was the author of the input, and you cannot assume that 
>there is anyone to report to at the time the HTML is being made.
>Consider a hypothetical service which takes word documents in a drop 
>box and later makes HTML pages.  The generation happens after the 
>drop, the person dropping the document may not have written them 
>anyway, and word has no field for alt text of images.

When exactly did Microsoft Word lose this feature?
In my copy of Word 2002, I can insert a picture, open the "Format 
Picture" dialogue (through the context menu), select the Web tab and 
insert text in the field "Alternative text".

In my copy of OpenOffice.org 2.3, I can insert a picture, open the 
"Picture" dialogue (through the context menu), select the Options tab 
and insert some text in the field "Alternative (Text Only)".

I would be very surprised if more recent versions had lost these features.

Best regards,

Christophe Strobbe

>The tool should make functional, comformant HTML.  Clearly it cannot 
>invent alt text, and so it cannot conform to WCAG, but we should at 
>least make sure that consumers of the HTML are not *mis*-led 
>although if they cannot see images there may be semantics missing.
>alt="" role="unknown"
>something else?
>David Singer

Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
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Received on Friday, 22 August 2008 17:26:50 UTC

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