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Re: [External Sender][EXTERNAL] Image alt text for multiple product views on retail websites


From: mhysnm1964@gmail.com
Date: Sep 26, 2019 2:57PM

Descriptions of products does not necessarily help the screen reader user as well. Using the example, what is the cut of the shirt, does it have pockets, does it have buttons on the collar, ow big is the pattern, what type of weave, ETC. Not sure how this can be handled in a shopping situation as this is a big gap as I can see it.

Even electronics they don't describe the product in a way you get a feel for what it looks like and if that is a component of your decision. Then you could buy something that doesn't fit your notion of Essenics.

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of Greg Jellin
Sent: Thursday, 26 September 2019 11:51 PM
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] [External Sender] Re: [EXTERNAL] Image alt text for multiple product views on retail websites

Great feedback Mark and Brian! Really appreciate your time.

Mark, yeah, we are concerned about the feasibility of our client being able to implement a solution that provides good, consistent, accurate alt text. This client has 10s of thousands of products across many sites. I don't believe they have the capacity to author alt text for every product view. The most feasible scenario would be a programmatic approach that pulls the product title/desc. from the database. I don't think that would be very helpful for users.

And Brian, spot on. The relevant details of the product are all in text form on the page. The title and description of the product, the selected color (and color choices), etc.

Our goal here is to ensure we are providing what would be useful for users and at the same time we are complying with WCAG. It is also important that whatever our recommendation, it is feasible.

My hunch is that users will gain no benefit from providing alt text on the various product views. I am considering recommending hiding the entire product view feature from screen readers, as it appears that Amazon does. All relevant information would be available in text.


On 9/26/2019 5:29 AM, Brian Lovely via WebAIM-Forum wrote:
> Hey Greg,
> "man wearing..." is likely to not be useful if you're in the section
> of the site devoted to men's clothing. Another way of looking at it is
> if every picture description starts with "man wearing" is it really
> useful in describing the purpose of any one unique image?
> Mark is right in that (for clothing) the most important info is the
> style, pattern, and color. For a vacuum cleaner or coffee maker, I
> would assume the features are already described in text, so alt="Black
> and Decker Coffee Maker Model 4598" is not really useful information
> that the user can't already get from page content. Many of the images
> would best be hidden from screen readers to reduce noise.
> Again, if the style, pattern, and color of a garment is already
> provided in page text, then the image is decorative and should be
> provided with an alt attribute set to a null value.
> It's a subtle art, and there's no one size fits all solution.
> >
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