E-mail List Archives

Re: Investigating the proposed altattributerecommendations in HTML 5


From: John Foliot - Stanford Online Accessibility Program
Date: Aug 30, 2007 3:50PM

Tim Beadle wrote:
> When keen but ill-informed developers add alt="This is the ACME, Inc.
> logo, a picture of a Stork" instead of just alt="ACME, Inc."? Or they
> repeat information about the image that is nearby in the text anyway.
> Having alt as a required attribute doesn't in any way guarantee
> quality, useful alt text.

Granted. The issue is of course that they need to *think* about what they
are using for alt text. Removing the mandate to have alt text (by making it
optional) makes it easier for them to simply not use alt text (it's a
no-brainer) - and then point to the spec and say "see, it says optional".

The use-case(s) being proposed might seem semi-valid (Flickr et. al.), but
making the alt attribute optional opens the door for mis-use, and contrary
to what has been suggested, is an apparent step back from ground already
fought for.

Making alt text optional acknowledges the problem, but does nothing to fix
the problem except make it easier to ignore the problem.