WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Investigating the proposed altattributerecommendations in HTML 5


From: Gez Lemon
Date: Aug 30, 2007 11:00AM

Hi Andrew,

> The basic idea that is being advocated in HTML5 is that alt should be
> used when it is needed. If alt has a null value, then it isn't really
> needed, so could be omitted.

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.