Re: feedback requested on WAI CG Consensus Resolutions on Text alternatives in HTML 5 document


I have a few comments on your earlier message that regards the 
relationship between the CD, HTML5 and the ATAG 2.0 draft.

Henri Sivonen wrote:
>> The Consensus Documents goes in that direction when it states that it 
>> doesn't mater if an <IMG> with role="presentation" has an empty alt="" 
>> or no alt at all. But it goes slightly in the opposite direction when 
>> it recommends that validators should say that an <IMG> with an empty 
>> alt="" but not @role should automatically get a role="presentation".
> My biggest concern with the proposed normative warning is that 
> role=presentation wouldn't be the path of least resistance for 
> dismissing the warning. Putting a space in the value of alt would be.

Actually, if an author is going to be non-cooperative, then I would 
prefer they put in alt=" " rather than misuse semantic markup (alt="" 
and role="presentation") which indicate a cooperative author has judged 
the image to be presentational. (NOTE: Even more preferable to me would 
be to find a way for @alt to be left out in such a situation as an 
indicator that problem exists)

> The reason I disagree with it is that I haven't seen a credible 
> expectation of how a Dreamweaver-like product should implement the 
> requirements of HTML5 as drafted without failing to conform to ATAG 2 as 
> drafted (or vice versa).
> Anyway, I think discussing what should be conforming before coming to 
> consensus on desirable authoring tool behavior will rathole this thread. 
> Therefore, instead of discussing my conclusions, I'd like to state my 
> premises and invite anyone who disagrees with any of my premises to come 
> forward. If it turns out that one of my premises is wrong, my conclusion 
> is most likely wrong.
> Here are my premises:
>  * "Authoring tools and markup generators must generate conforming 
> documents." ("Authoring tools are exempt from the strict requirements 
> of     using elements only for their specified purpose, but only to the 
> extent that authoring tools are not yet able to determine author 
> intent." "In terms of conformance checking, an editor is therefore 
> required to output documents that conform to the same extent that a 
> conformance checker will verify.") (Quoted from HTML 5.)

There's a problem here. Authoring tools often can't determine author 
intent in @alt usage, so the exemption from the first sentence would 
seem to apply. On the other hand, the second sentence seems to say @alt 
is required for conformance to the extent that it can automatically 
checked for (i.e., whether it exists or not, rather than whether it has 
correctly recorded author intent).

>  * "After the end of an authoring session, the authoring tool does not 
> attempt to repair alternative content for non-text content using text 
> content that is equally available to user agents (e.g., the filename is 
> not used)." (Quoted from ATAG 2)


>  * Autogenerated alt="image", alt="" and alt=" " violate the ATAG 2 
> language quoted in the previous point.

Actually, alt="" would be fine to autogenerate if the authoring tool 
could detect that the image was presentational (e.g., it was a 1x1 white 
JPG with no link)

>  * Autogenerated alt="photo" might be spun not to violate it but 
> practically isn't materially different from alt="image".


>  * Autogenerated role=presentation doesn't violate the ATAG 2 point 
> literally but does in spirit.

Actually, as with alt="", role=presentation would be fine to 
autogenerate if the authoring tool could detect that the image was 
presentational (e.g., it was a 1x1 white JPG, not in a link)

>  * An HTML authoring tool should conform to both HTML 5 and ATAG 2.


>  * In a GUI editor, the user should be able to insert and delete images 
> and section/figure headers/captions/legends independently of each other, 
> because gluing them together would violate long-standing GUI behavior 
> expectations.

Agreed. Although these tools can certainly help to maintain these 

>  * Most authors don't respond to prompts in a meaningful way. (Contrast 
> with ATAG 2 B.1.3 applicability notes.)

I won't disagree with the statement. But the "contrast" is incorrect. 
The ATAG 2.0 use of the word "assume" should be read as "ONLY WHEN"
"This guideline applies to the automated behavior specified by the 
authoring tool developer [under the assumption that authors will/ONLY 
WHEN AUTHORS] respond properly to any prompts."

>  * Dreamweaver and BlueGriffon-type products, Microsoft Word and 
> products (when exporting HTML) and Flickr and 
> Brightkite-type services are legitimate classes of services and products 
> that are within scope for HTML 5 and ATAG 2.


> Does anyone disagree with any of these points?

Yes (see above)


Jan Richards, M.Sc.
User Interface Design Lead
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC)
Faculty of Information
University of Toronto

   Phone: 416-946-7060
   Fax:   416-971-2896

Received on Monday, 17 August 2009 13:57:12 UTC