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

Thomas Broyer t.broyer at gmail.com
Thu Apr 19 06:43:14 PDT 2007

2007/4/19, Matthew Paul Thomas:
> 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.


Thunderbird allows you to set 'alt' (by default, the "alternate text"
option is active, if you don't fill it, a message pops up when you
click "OK" inciting you to fill the field in, or select the "no
alternate text" option, in which case an empty alt="" is generated).
When you drag/drop an image into a message, the default is alt="".

> 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
> it).

Yes there is: the Content-Description header.

Thomas Broyer

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