[whatwg] ALT and equivalent representation

Bill Mason whatwg at accessibleinter.net
Fri Apr 18 10:21:14 PDT 2008

Today in IRC a discussion lead to a hypothetical example that didn't fit 
easily into the spec's current requirements for the alt attribute.

The example was a case of a hacker who replaces the Google logo on 
google.com with an image only containing the text "WE HACKED YOUR 
SERVERS".  We assume the hacker cares enough about accessibility to set 
the alt attribute to the same text.

Since the image is no longer the company logo, it falls outside the logo 
discussion in the Icons requirement for alt.

The new image would appear to fall into the "phrase or paragraph with an 
alternative graphical representation" requirement. The spec's current 
language that the image is "something [that] can be more clearly stated 
in graphical form" something doesn't fit well because this hypothetical 
image is not 'more clear' -- it's equivalent.

I would like to suggest that the language here somehow encompass that an 
image that is an equivalent statement to the phrase or paragraph also 
falls under this requirement.  Perhaps something like:

"Sometimes something can be more clearly stated in graphical form, for 
example as a flowchart, a diagram, a graph, or a simple map showing 
directions. Or something is equivalently stated in graphical form, for 
example an image that is a graphical representation of text that does 
not appear in the surrounding text. In such cases, an image can be given 
using the img element, but the [note: omitting the word 'lesser' that 
appears in the current spec language] textual version must still be 
given," [etc, rest of current spec paragraph follows]

Bill Mason
Accessible Internet
whatwg at accessibleinter.net

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