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Re: When "Alt" is not the semantically-correct representation of an image


From: Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Date: Jul 27, 2018 10:25PM

I was one of the people criticizing role="text".
If you present something as an image to some users you should present
it to all users.
Suppose you feel the need to use a heart icon to express your undying
love for nacho fries:
"I heart nacho fries"
("heart" being an image of a heart"), you chose a certain style / approach.
You can make it accessible by adding alt="love" if you want the
literal meaning or alt="heart" if you want to inform a screen reader
user that a heart icon stands for love (or, in this case, lust).
Yes, the screen reader will add the word "graphics" or "image" to the
sentence (depending on which one you use). A screen reader user is
used to that, it's the standard for how an icon is presented.

If you wanted to simply express your love as text you could have just
written "I love nacho fries". The cognitive load for a screen reader
user is no greater than that of other users who see text mixed with an

If you are really worried mark the image as presentational and replace
it with a visually hidden text,, or tell your content person that
mixing text and images like that can present a problem to screen
reader users; possibly others as well, what about users with cognitive
impairments, they may benefit or be harmed by this approach.
We don't need ARIA to fix what is not really a problem. I have yet to
see a convincing example where this role can be used for a purpose
other than avoiding the word "graphic" to be added by a screen reader.

On 7/27/18, Duff Johnson < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> Hi Steve,
>>> But role="text" is not a
>>> documented role (yet?).
>> It was dumped from ARIA as there was not consensus on how it should be
>> implemented.
> Boo. Hiss. This should get another look.
> Or… add an "ActualText" attribute to HTML 5.3.. :-)
> Duff.
> > > > >

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