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Re: ALT Text - CMS Problem


From: David Ashleydale
Date: Apr 15, 2011 9:21AM

Jukka wrote: "Lack of ALT text is a lesser evil than seriously wrong ALT

This is the heart of the matter, and I don't think this sentence is true. If
the lack of ALT text
results in someone completely missing an important piece of content, that
seems like a much worse problem than having to hear "red ball" for an image
of a circle.

On Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 10:29 PM, Jukka K. Korpela < <EMAIL REMOVED> >wrote:

> David Ashleydale wrote:
> > We have a content management system at work that forces users to enter
> > non-null ALT text for every image on a web page -- even images that
> > are deemed "decorative".
> >
> > First, do you think I should get them to fix this system so that
> > users can choose whether an image gets ALT text or null ALT text?
> I guess you mean "non-null ALT text or null ALT text". Yes, this should be
> fixed, of course.
> > One of the potential problems with doing that is it might result in
> > meaningful images getting null ALT text because the page authors
> > could then just "skip them" by choosing null.
> The problem is very real, but preventing authors from doing the right thing
> in many cases is an unacceptable cost for urging them to consider things in
> other cases.
> > Since we are now
> > forcing page authors to think about ALT text,
> It is impossible to force people to think. You can only force them to some
> behavior. For example, to hit the "X" key whenever they are required to
> type
> some text.
> > they're at least trying
> > and they cannot proceed without assigning ALT text to every image.
> This may force them to enter random, absurd, or otherwise completely wrong
> ALT text, even when they are willing to think but cannot understand what is
> expected or what might be a good ALT text. Lack of ALT text is a lesser
> evil
> than seriously wrong ALT text.
> I wonder if the following strategy would bee "too clever":
> In the authoring tool, include an optional field for "role", preferably
> with
> a dropdown for selecting a value as per ARIA proposal (allowing an empty
> value, too, so that the field can removed too). Do not let the author
> proceed if ALT text is set to empty, unless "role" has the value
> "presentation".
> > Second, if we do leave the system the way it is, what are some good
> > guidelines to give to page authors when they are confronted with
> > having to come up with ALT text for decorative images? I'm sure "keep
> > it short" is one good tip -- any others?
> No, "make it blank" is best. I presume that by "null ALT text" you mean an
> ALT attribute with the empty string "" as its value. The value " " is
> non-null then. If the CMS doesn't allow a value consisting of a space (or
> spaces) only, then you might try the no-break space. The method for
> entering
> it depends on the authoring tool and environment; Ctrl+space might work, or
> it might not, and so might typing &nbsp;. If even this won't work, I'd use
> some punctuation-like character, like "-", that should not disturb too
> much, whether displayed or spoken ("hyphen", "dash").
> --
> Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/