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Re: Alt Text


From: Jared Smith
Date: Feb 25, 2010 1:24PM

On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 11:55 AM, John Foliot < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> I would echo agreement with Bevi's 'pattern' here, and have suggested it
> in the past as a best practices guideline.

I know we've gone the rounds on this a few times in the past. I don't
think that either of these approaches to alternative text is
"inaccessible" - we just may differ a bit on details.

I will say, however, that I think this pattern is primarily
recommended to account for piss-poor handling by browsers and
assistive technology. If a screen reader or browser is too incapable
of identifying or rendering alternative text distinctly, should it be
the developer's burden to 'hack' the alt text to make it so? I think
this approach turns "alternative text" into "alternative text plus
some other stuff to make it read/display better". Wouldn't our efforts
be better spent in encouraging browsers and AT to handle alternative
text better, and in promoting guidelines for rendering of alt in HTML5
and the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines?

While I can accept the pattern as acceptable, I won't use it and can't
recommend it. If the nature of an image (it's a photo or a chart,
etc.) is important and is actually CONTENT, then it can and should be
included in the alternative text. But I think using this approach for
EVERY image will result in a lot of overhead and extraneous
information that would be much better handled by the user agent.

Jared Smith