[html4all] some reflections on @alt usage
chaals at opera.com
Mon Apr 28 10:15:23 PDT 2008
On Mon, 28 Apr 2008 15:37:01 +0200, Gez Lemon <gez.lemon at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 28/04/2008, Charles McCathieNevile <chaals at opera.com> wrote:
>> Optional alt is about a belief that validation is more important to
>> (in particular tool developers) than accessibility. If that turns out
>> be true, then it makes sense. If that turns out to be false, then it
>> doesn't. But we have to have some research - both sides of the argument
>> are currently based on gut feeling and instinct. There is a real issue
>> here, and there is very little real information being provided to
>> the question rationally.
> I think the issue should be about the integrity of the structure.
I think the issue should be about what makes the most content most
> alternate text isn't provided for important images, then we know it
> isn't accessible to people who cannot readily change an aspect of
> themselves to make it accessible.
Sure, couldn't agree more.
> Alternate text maintains the
> integrity of the structure to ensure that it is accessible to
When done right. And I think there is universal agreement on that. (There
is not universal agreement on how to do it, and I think that some of the
stuff in the HTML5 draft I last read was nonsense, suggesting that there
was nothing to be done when this was clearly not the case).
The issue is what happens when things go wrong.
> Lowering the integrity requirements to make poor authoring tools
> compliant doesn't address the issue that important images without
> alternate text are inaccessible.
I am not proposing lowering the requirements on poorly-designed authoring
tools. They should be castigated like crazy for not making it easy and
friendly to include alt text. I happen to include My.Opera.com in the list
of things that need to be improved.
The problem is poor advice to tool developers (which we need to get out of
the spec), and more so lazy authors. Unfortunately, tools cannot always
force authors to do the right thing, and the question is what they should
do in that case.
> Badly written alt text being a
> greater evil is misdirection. They're both extremely bad scenarios for
They are. But one scenario is worse, because it makes it harder to
identify, and therefore repair, problems.
> The markup language should ensure the integrity of the
Indeed. This includes the ability to improve the data where necessary, and
that relies on having clear ways of knowing what type of error we are
dealing with in each case.
Note that I do not yet have any position one way or another on whether alt
should be required for validity. I have a very strong and simple position
on whether we need to get better alt into more pages, and on whether pages
that skip doing that are any good. But I don't want to lead us down a path
that actually makes accessibility worse, just because we are saying the
right thing as we go. I would rather we look carefully at where the paths
lead, and then choose the one that gets to the result that we are looking
Charles McCathieNevile Opera Software, Standards Group
je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg lærer norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals Try Opera 9.5: http://snapshot.opera.com
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