[whatwg] Alt text authoring Re: Conformance for Mail clients

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Thu Apr 19 05:35:31 PDT 2007

On Apr 19, 2007, at 10:47 PM, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
> ...
> For the various reasons discussed in this thread, I cannot think of a 
> real justification for making a mail client that breaks one of the 
> basic accessibility features that people understand better than most 
> others. And I can think of plenty of reasons for not doing so.
> ...

As Benjamin said, it's worthwhile entering alt= text when sending to 
many recipients, and/or to unknown recipients; that is why alt= is 
important for public Web pages (where you don't know who is going to 
read a page) and for Intranets (where if a blind person joins the 
company tomorrow, they shouldn't be impeded by lack of alt= text on 
existing pages).

But it seems likely that the vast majority of non-spam e-mail messages 
are sent to individuals who are known by the sender to be 
fully-sighted. In that case putting up an interface for entering alt= 
text, *just in case* the recipient gets struck blind before they get 
around to reading the message, seems a bit unreasonable.

It would also be weird for a mail client to ask for alternate text for 
images in HTML messages (because HTML requires it), but not for images 
in multipart/mixed plain-text messages (because there's nowhere to put 

Matthew Paul Thomas

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