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Re: HTML Action Item 54 - ...draft text for HTML 5 spec to require producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Tue, 13 May 2008 11:28:18 +0200
Message-Id: <>
To: wai-xtech@w3.org

Hi Maciej,

At 16:54 12/05/2008, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:

>On May 12, 2008, at 5:57 AM, Steven Faulkner wrote:
>>As stated previously
>>"The aim of this draft is therefore to comply with WCAG 2.0, Guideline
>>1.1. Text Alternatives:"
>>The advice in WCAG 2.0 has been developed over a long period of public
>>consultation. If you feel that your view of what constitutes best
>>advice on how to provide appropriate text alternatives is superior to
>>WCAG,  I urge you to correspond with the WAI WCAG working group. I am
>>sure that they would be more than happy to explain how they arrived at
>>the advice provided in WCAG 2.0.
>That sounds like an appeal to authority, not a justification. Even the
>best exerts make mistakes, or fail to think through certain edge
>cases. Or sometimes, they can reach correct conclusions that non- 
>experts find surprising, in which case an explanation can be of great

I assume that the "edge case" refers to the mass photo upload site.
There is no need to think that WCAG 2.0 doesn't address this. Based 
on WCAG 2.0, web developers and authors (contributors, ...) have two options:

1) A statement of partial conformance:
Sometimes, Web pages are created that will later have additional 
content added to them. For example, an email program, a blog, an 
article that allows users to add comments, or applications supporting 
user-contributed content. Another example would be a page, such as a 
portal or news site, composed of content aggregated from multiple 
contributors, or sites that automatically insert content from other 
sources over time, such as when advertisements are inserted dynamically.

A "statement of partial conformance" may be made, that the page does 
not conform, but could conform if certain parts were removed. The 
form of that statement would be, "This page would conform to WCAG 2.0 
at level X if the following parts from uncontrolled sources were 
removed." In addition, the following would also be true of the 
non-conforming content that is excluded in the statement of partial 
  a. is not content that is under the author's control
  b. is described in a way that that users can identify (e.g. they 
can't be described as "all parts that we do not control" unless they 
are clearly marked as such.)

2) Making sure that "All non-text content that is presented to the 
user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose, 
except for the situations listed below": 
<http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/CR-WCAG20-20080430/#text-equiv-all> (and 
uploaded photographs, regardless of quantity, are not exempt).
Of course, the question is then how to do this for the cherished 
photo upload use case. Others have already made suggestions on this 
list, for exampe Jim Jewett (17 April) at 
(Ian Hickson's counter-argument - at 
<http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/wai-xtech/2008Apr/0294.html> - 
that the text of the last examples should be made available to 
everyone didn't invalidate the original argument that something can 
always be provided. I consider the use case of mass photo uploads - 
as far as it is an excuse for not providing textual alternatives - as 

Best regards,


Please don't invite me to LinkedIn, Facebook, Quechup or other 
"social networks". You may have agreed to their "privacy policy", but 
I haven't.

Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 bus 2442
B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
tel: +32 16 32 85 51

Disclaimer: http://www.kuleuven.be/cwis/email_disclaimer.htm
Received on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 09:29:14 UTC

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