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Re: LONGDESC in HTML5?

for

From: Steven Faulkner
Date: Sep 25, 2010 1:00PM


hi Vlad,

>I don't see that. It's a really simple concept and if we keep it simple,
people will then use it correctly.

I have never seen an understandable explanation of this 'really simple
concept' that covers the many ways images are used on the web.
>Please don't take this personally (this is professional feedback), but I
feel you are making alt more complex than necessary. Your 40+ page document
on how to >write alt text in HTML5 is way too complex and will unfortunately
serve the purpose (directly or through derivative works) of scaring content
>authors/developers/tool vendors so that they will simply ignore alt or give
it cursorily effort.

I won't take it personally as I am only the editor of the draft
specification (http://dev.w3.org/html5/alt-techniques/) not the author.
IThere hasn't been any feedback apart from yours that it is too complex and
will scare content authors. It is aimed at authors not tool vendors, they
will find the HTML5 spec itself much more useful. Its is a collaboritve work
being developed by the W3C HTML working group. It attempts to cover all
methods for providing text alternatives for images, not only the use of the
alt attribute. It provides many examples as there are many ways in which
images are used.


As I have written previously, If you wish to make comments regarding this
document, please send them to <EMAIL REMOVED>
(subscribe< <EMAIL REMOVED> ?subject=subscribe>,
archives <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html-comments/>;) or
submit them using the W3C public bug
database<http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/enter_bug.cgi?product=HTML%20WG&;component=alt%20techniques%20(editor:%20Steven%20Faulkner)>.
All feedback is welcome. If you can find the time to provide constructive
comments on how the document can be simplified without losing importnat
information it would be much appreciated.


>That fits with the definition of alt as a textual replacement for an image.

But the content of alt is not defined as a 'textual replacement' it is
defined as a 'text alternative'. At times it makes sense for text
alternatives to be textual replacements at other times it does not.

>Test 1: ...I would argue that you should be able to add or remove a
hyperlink from a document withing affecting the comprehension of that
document.

example:

This is an <a href="inline-definition.html">inline link</a>.

take away the link:

This is an inline link.

meaning and functionality is lost.

>Test 2: Paste the document into plain text such as Notepad or plain text
email. Hyperlinks are removed. You are left with document content. So if alt
is a "description/label of the link target" it's pretty useless here.

the same can be said for any interactive and non text objects

here is a list of links lifted form the MLB site:

Scoreboard Standings Schedule Stats Players News Video

pretty useless aren't they? that is because they are not meant to be viewed
as plain text they are made useful by their functionality (hyperlinks) they
label.

>At this link I provide examples where alt is not a short description of a
chart but instead text that is a substitute for an image to make surrounding
context comprehensible.

The issue is that you (vlad) always put an image in in the context as part
of a narrative, yes images are sometimes used like that, but often times
they are not, and when they are not, either your method fails to be useful
or you recast every instance of image use to fit your method, neither are
desirable or practical outcomes.


regards
Stevef

On 25 September 2010 17:44, Vlad Alexander < <EMAIL REMOVED> >wrote:

> Steve wrote: "I cannot disagree more. the content of the alt attribute can
> be and is many things"
>
> I don't see that. It's a really simple concept and if we keep it simple,
> people will then use it correctly.
>
> Please don't take this personally (this is professional feedback), but I
> feel you are making alt more complex than necessary. Your 40+ page document
> on how to write alt text in HTML5 is way too complex and will unfortunately
> serve the purpose (directly or through derivative works) of scaring content
> authors/developers/tool vendors so that they will simply ignore alt or give
> it cursorily effort.
>
> http://dev.w3.org/html5/alt-techniques/
>
> Steve wrote: "The abscence of content indicates the image is decorative."
>
> That fits with the definition of alt as a textual replacement for an image.
> In this case, the replacement text is blank because it is unnecessary given
> surrounding content.
>
> Steve wrote: "If the image is the sole content of a link it is a
> description/label of the link target."
>
> Let's put this to a test.
>
> Test 1: In this case, should the author write alt to fit the target of the
> link or to fit surrounding content? I would argue that you should be able to
> add or remove a hyperlink from a document withing affecting the
> comprehension of that document. In other words, if I want to add or remove a
> hyperlink, I should not have to re-write content in the document. The only
> way to achieve this is to write content (be it normal text or alt text) to
> fit surrounding content.
>
> Test 2: Paste the document into plain text such as Notepad or plain text
> email. Hyperlinks are removed. You are left with document content. So if alt
> is a "description/label of the link target" it's pretty useless here.
>
> Steve wrote: "if the image is a photograph, diagram, illustration, cartoon,
> chart the alt may be a short description of the content."
>
> That fits with the definition of alt as a textual replacement for an image.
> It all depends on the context (surrounding text). At this link I provide
> examples where alt is not a short description of a chart but instead text
> that is a substitute for an image to make surrounding context
> comprehensible.
>
> http://rebuildingtheweb.com/en/how-do-we-save-longdesc/#c20100824114946
>
> Take care,
> -Vlad
>
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> From: Steven Faulkner
> Date: 9/25/2010 6:08 AM
> > Hi vlad,
> >
> > your wrote:
> > "> The purpose of alt is not to "describe" images but to replace them.
> > Alternate text can be quite different than a description of an image."
> >
> > I cannot disagree more. the content of the alt attribute can be and is
> many
> > things:
> > The abscence of content indicates the image is decorative.
> > If the image is the sole content of a link it is a description/label of
> the
> > link target.
> > if the image is a photograph, diagram, illustration, cartoon, chart the
> alt
> > may be a short description of the content.
> > +others
> >
> > I respect yours and others views, but cannot accept that it is official
> or
> > mandated anywhere that content of the alt attribute is always and can
> only
> > be a "textual substitute", nor should it be, just as it should not be
> > mandated that the presence of the image object in a HTML page must not be
> > conveyed to users.
> >
> > regards
> > stevef
> >
> >
> >
> > On 25 September 2010 10:42, E.J. Zufelt< <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> On 2010-09-25, at 5:25 AM, Vlad Alexander (XStandard) wrote:
> >>
> >>> I wrote: "Unfortunately, we are still talking about @alt and @longdesc
> as
> >> "image descriptions" with the only difference being the number of
> characters
> >> typed."
> >>>
> >>> Josh wrote: "What else would you like them to do?"
> >>>
> >>> Let's take a look at the text from this article:
> >>> http://webaim.org/techniques/images/longdesc
> >>>
> >>> Article text: "In some instances, an image is too complex to describe
> in
> >> a few words."
> >>>
> >>> The purpose of alt is not to "describe" images but to replace them.
> >> Alternate text can be quite different than a description of an image.
> >>>
> >>> Article text: "Although there does not appear to be any limit to the
> >> length of text in an alt attribute, alt text is meant to be relatively
> >> short, so it would be an abuse of this attribute to write more than a
> few
> >> words, or, at most, a few short sentences."
> >>>
> >>> Why? @alt is part of document content just like paragraphs. If you
> don't
> >> impose arbitrary limits on paragraphs, why impose them on alt. The
> author
> >> should decide on the length of alt text.
> >>>
> >>> Article text: "The answer, then, is to provide a brief alt text
> >> description of the image and then provide a longer description
> elsewhere."
> >>>
> >>> This statement implies that alt and longdesc are the same except one is
> >> longer than the other.
> >>>
> >>> We need to start calling content in the @alt attribute "textual
> >> substitute" for an image, and content appearing in the @longdesc as a
> >> "description" if we ever want alt to be authored correctly and longdesc
> to
> >> be used.
> >>>
> >> I agree completely that we need to call content in the alt attribute
> >> ""textual substitute" in order for there to be a clear differentiation,
> The
> >> difference is * not * short and long description, but image replacement
> text
> >> and image description text.
> >>
> >> Image description text is relative to the image, whereas image
> replacement
> >> text is relative to a specific usage of an image within a specific piece
> of
> >> content.
> >>
> >> I think that we also need to specify that alt ought to be able to point
> to
> >> structured content, in case the image replacement needs to be structured
> >> text (lists, etc.).
> >>
> >>
> >> Everett
> >>