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Re: Alternate text for images having caption adjacent


From: Whitney Quesenbery
Date: May 30, 2014 9:43PM

On Fri, May 30, 2014 at 5:23 PM, Jared Smith < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> On Fri, May 30, 2014 at 2:24 PM, Whitney Quesenbery wrote:
> > Last, I NEVER use null alt text for images that are substantive
> > illustrations.
> Likewise. It is of note that these types of highly illustrative,
> journalistic images constitute a small percentage of images on the
> web.

If you are looking at the entire page and frame, that's probably true.
But if you are thinking about the article content - the stuff in <main>,
then it is not. And that's what most of the "web authors" out there are
focused on.

> In our evaluation work we see thousands of images with alternative
> text that simply describes what the thing looks like with little
> regard to the actual content being conveyed. All I'm suggesting is
> that we should rethink how we describe and present what alternative
> text is so that the focus is placed on content, not visual
> descriptions.

I certainly agree with this! And with the bad-ness of the examples you

One of the reasons for this is that we too often make programmers write the
alt text. That is, we say "this is code so a coder should do it" instead of
"this is part of the content, so it should be written by an author". Our
tools push us in that direction when they hide the alt text in a properties
box or with a lot of other technical entries. Or just make it hard to see.
Why, for example, can't I see a panel with all of the alt text for all of
the illustrations in my article at once, so that I can edit them (a)
consistently and (b) while I'm looking at the rest of the text - as a
whole, not as an isolated <img> tag.

You may also notice that I've avoided the technical label "image". They may
be in a graphical file format, but it can serve many purposes on a page.
The person who "owns" the purpose should also "own the alternative text"