[uf-new] img alt content

Scott Reynen scott at makedatamakesense.com
Wed Jul 11 07:49:25 PDT 2007

On Jul 11, 2007, at 2:12 AM, Andy Mabbett wrote:

>> Complete adherence to HTML
>> is simply not a practical criteria to apply without concession on
>> today's web.
> If that's true - which I dispute - then who's going to re-write:
>         <http://microformats.org/wiki/POSH>
>         The first rule of POSH is that you must validate your POSH.
> accordingly?

Validation and adherence to the HTML spec are not exactly the same  
thing.  All spec-adherent websites are valid, but not all valid sites  
are spec-adherent.  So full adherence to the spec is more work to ask  
of publishers than simple validation.  Ironically, I think the HTML  
validator actually encourages poor use of the alt attribute because  
it returns an error on missing alt attributes, but doesn't make any  
mention that alt should be empty for non-content images.  So  
publishers who leave out alt on non-content images see this error and  
end up adding alt attributes with exactly the kind of "red ball"  
values the HTML spec discourages.

I completely agree such publishers should be encouraged to stop doing  
this; I just doubt whether such encouragement should come from the  
microformats community.  I see our goal as a bit more specific than  
general encouragement of better HTML: making better HTML publishing  
more appealing by establishing practical benefits.  And I think the  
best way to do this is to focus on areas where better HTML results in  
maximum practical benefits with minimum cost to publishers.

In this case specifically, I suspect the best way to accomplish that  
goal would not be to encourage everyone publishing non-content alt  
attributes to change, but rather to encourage everyone publishing  
content in alt attributes to insert such content as more accessible  
text, and use style sheets to apply more stylized images, which I  
think is what Ben was suggesting (see [1]).  This solution, I think,  
makes better HTML more useful without making microformats any more  
difficult to publish for those who aren't up to spec.

[1] http://www.stopdesign.com/articles/replace_text/

Scott Reynen

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