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

Jon Barnett jonbarnett at gmail.com
Sat Apr 21 17:26:55 PDT 2007

On 4/21/07, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs at apple.com> wrote:

How is an <object> with empty fallback content different from an
> <img> with an empty alt value? It seems like it is just as ambiguous,
> since if the fallback content were non-empty it should be substituted.

I guess made an assumption that <object> semantically means "embedded object
that is part of the page content" while <img> semantically means "image that
represents text", making the distinction between (1) and (2).

Although, like I said, I think omitting the alt attribute is a better way to
distinguish (2) from (1)

I think a better option would be to distinguish alt="", and use that
> for images in the content that add no meaning as the draft says
> today, and no alt attribute at all for images that are meaningful,
> but where a text description is not available or appropriate.

That's pretty much what I said at the end of the message, so I agree.

We could limit <img> with no alt attribute to content generated by
> WYSIWYG editors, in the same way as <font>. Or something like that.

That's where I disagree.  I think it should be perfectly valid for authors
to omit the alt attribute on images in a gallery for the same reason it's
acceptable for YouTube not to have fallback content for its videos in
<embed> tags.  This does not just apply to WYSIWYG editor.

Basically we can distinguish the two cases by alt="" and entirely
> omitted alt.
> Maciej

By "entirely omitted alt", do you still only mean WYSIWYG editors?  If not,
I agree.  The distinction would be as follows:
(1) <img src="obvious.jpg" alt="obvious"> - This image represents text,
particularly the word "obvious".  Lynx should replace it with the word
"obvious" and do nothing else.
(2) <img src="gallery2.jpg">  The image is part of the content and doesn't
represent text.  Lynx should indicate that the image is missing and offer a
way to download it
(3) <img src="decor.jpg" alt="">  The image is purely decorational or
represents text that would be redundant to display.  Lynx should pretend
it's not there.
Jon Barnett
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/whatwg-whatwg.org/attachments/20070421/30f9e345/attachment-0001.htm>

More information about the whatwg mailing list