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Re: ALT Text - CMS Problem


From: David Ashleydale
Date: Apr 15, 2011 3:57PM

Thanks for the comments, Bevi.

The way our system works is that page authors use a GUI to create pages.
Those pages, plus any images, get stored in our CMS (Documentum). The images
aren't reusable in any practical sense -- they are just associated with that
one page. Using the GUI, if a user tries to add an image to a page without
providing ALT text, they are stopped and they receive an error message. It
is a required field.

So it's up to the page author to write the ALT text at the moment they are
using the GUI to create the page.

Making the ALT text field required was seen as a step toward better
accessibility on our site because so many page authors were overlooking ALT
text in the past. They wouldn't give ALT text to any images. Frankly, I'm
glad that our CMS office took this step toward making accessibility more
important. But I would say it's better, just not perfect.


On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 2:21 PM, Bevi Chagnon | PubCom
< <EMAIL REMOVED> >wrote:

> This has been a very informative and interesting discussion.
> One thought that keeps cropping up for me as I refer back to the original
> question:
> If the images are going into a CMS, why not put a decent ALT text on all of
> them?
> Images in a CMS (or DAM or whatever you want to call your storage
> database),
> will be used for different purposes over time. If all images in the CMS
> have
> good ALT text, then the user can determine whether to keep it or "null" it
> depending upon how the image is used in the document.
> I don't think any image in a CMS should ever get a null/decorative/artifact
> attribute.
> A CMS is just a storage dump and you can't foresee how the image will be
> used on a website or in a document.
> Sometimes the same graphic will be used for critical information, other
> times as decorative window dressing. If the full ALT text is there in the
> image's metadata in the CMS, then it travels with the image and the
> designer/writer has the choice of whether to use it or override it with a
> "null" or "artifact" attribute.
> However, this system requires:
> 1. The CMS has a place for ALT text metadata.
> 2. The metadata will travel with the image and when the image is placed in
> MS Word, InDesign or in HTML, for example, the metadata will automatically
> populate the appropriate fields.
> Of course, this is a pipedream workflow at this stage of the industry!
> — Bevi Chagnon
> ___________________
> Bevi Chagnon / PubCom
> Government publishing specialists, trainers, consultants
> Print, press, web, Acrobat PDF and 508
> April-May Classes: www.pubcom.com/classes Section 508 Accessibility for
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