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Re: ALT Text - CMS Problem


From: Joshue O Connor
Date: Apr 18, 2011 1:42AM

On 15 Apr 2011, at 21:50, "Jukka K. Korpela" < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> David Ashleydale wrote:
>> The question is which of these situations is worse:
>> 1. An image of a red ball on a page is given alt="b47_257.jpg"
>> 2. An image that shows where to find the routing number on a check
>> is given alt=""
> We know that (1) is wrong. While (2) might be wrong too, it is difficult to
> say which one would be more wrong.

It's not difficult from an AT perspective, as IMO the first is 'more wrong' as it could interfere with the user experience in a more negative way. The bad alt is more actively useless than having a null alt that removes the image from the DOM. Unless it's a functional image that is vital to complete some task etc and then no alt, is better than poor alt and also better than null alt.

There could be a chance that the routing number can be discovered else where on the page?



> If it is relevant to users to know where
> to find the routing number on a check, then this should most probably be
> explained in normal text and accompanied with an illustrative image. As
> there is often nothing to be added to the text to help people who do not see
> the image, alt="" would be correct.
>> No matter what kind of accessibility training we give, there
>> will always be page authors that ignore it or just don't get it.
> Quality assurance is needed for sure.
>> 2. If we change the CMS to make ALT text optional, there will be
>> some important, meaningful images that will not be given ALT text.
> And if you keep it obligatory, there will be some important, meaningful
> images that will have _wrong_ ALT text. So in any case, quality assurance
> (or control or whatever you call it) is needed in both cases. The difference
> is that when nonempty ALT text is required, all authors, including the most
> knowledgeable, will be forced to generate wrong ALT texts. Admittedly, alt="
> " (if that is allowed) is not horribly wrong, but it's still wrong, and
> authors may write something worse when forced to provide nonempty ALT text.
>> If we do decide to stick with the current situation, I'd like to at
>> least give the users some tips on writing ALT text for decorative
>> images (not that they will all read it, though). I don't think our
>> CMS accepts a space as the ALT text.
> You should check that out, and if it doesn't accept it, check whether
> no-break space can be used, and if yes, find out the most convenient way to
> enter it.
>> And just using a hyphen seems a
>> little weird. Maybe asking them to just use one word? Like "beach"
>> for a decorative photo of a couple on a beach?
> A hyphen is less weird than an isolated word with no content. A hyphen
> generally indicates omission. You might use an en dash too, for the same
> reason.
> Failing everything else, alt="decoration" is better than throwing in some
> words that might make sense to a person who sees the image but is a mystery
> to one who doesn't. It would also be pointless use of mental resources, and
> it would reinforce a wrong tendency and a wrong idea of what alt texts are
> for.
> --
> Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/