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Re: Investigating the proposed altattributerecommendationsin HTML 5


From: James Leslie
Date: Aug 30, 2007 10:50AM

How are user agents supposed to distinguish between alt text that has
intentionally been omitted, and alt text that has been omitted because
the user didn't understand what was required of them, or their tool made
it difficult for them to provide the information? At the moment, alt=""
lets the user agent know that they don't need to use repair techniques
to provide the missing information to the user, provided it isn't used
in a critical way (such as being the sole way of exposing a link
phrase). If the attribute becomes optional, people who care about
standards but not about accessibility won't provide the alt attribute.
That is definitely a step backwards.


It seems a step backwards to me to. Surely decorative images should be
placed on the page using CSS, meaning that the alt tag is not
required/used anyway?

The argument mainly seems to be that a bunch of 'developers/designers'
don't know how to use the alt tag properly so instead of trying to
educate them, we deprecate a useful attribute. Either that or we are
allowing big commercial sites like Flickr to decide how standards should
be deployed, in order to fit in with their model. It seems like a
dangerous path to be taking to me.