[whatwg] Alt attribute for <video> and <audio>

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Fri Aug 14 04:13:32 PDT 2009

On Mon, 10 Aug 2009, Remco wrote:
> Shouldn't <video>s and <audio>s (and maybe <object>s too?) also have an 
> alt attribute? A quick Google search tells me this has not been 
> discussed before.

For users who can use audio but not video, authors should either provide 
audio descriptions in the video file as alternative tracks, or 
supplemental material provided in links available to everyone near the 

For users who can use video but not audio, authors should provide 
subtitles, captions, or transcripts either in the video or audio file as 
supplemental tracks, or in supplemental materials available to everyone in 
links near the video.

For users who can use neither video nor audio, supplemental materials are 
likely the best thing for an author to provide, again, in links visible to 

For users of legacy UAs that don't support these features, feature-rich 
alternatives such as plugins can be provided as fallback content for 
<video> and <audio>.

Captions and subtitles can be included either directly in the media file, 
or scripts can manually support external resources using the cue range 
API. Going forward, we will probably also support dedicated formats that 
UAs can merge with the video to handle showing external subtitles 

I don't see a need for an alt="" attribute here. What problem would it 
solve that is not solved by the above solutions?

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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