WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Investigating the proposedaltattributerecommendationsin HTML 5


From: Karl Groves
Date: Aug 30, 2007 11:20AM

I really don't think it matters whether the alt attribute is required or
not. Truth is, incomplete/ inaccurate/ deceptive alt text is just as bad as
none at all. It seems as though some people believe that requiring it will
somehow mean people will use it (and use it effectively). That's not the
case at all! As Tim Beadle (I think) said, there's a lot of really BAD alt
text out there and the alt attribute is required now. Clearly, requiring it
hasn't meant a thing to people who either don't care or don't know about
supplying good alt text.

None of this means that I agree with making it optional, but rather that the
hysteria is unfounded. Requiring it for validity's sake doesn't mean that,
by proxy, websites suddenly become more accessible.