Designer wrote:

Using this arbitrary example, I still maintain that a site of  images
such as any of these will be of no more value to a blind user for having alt tags, other than to point out that 'there is a picture there'. Of what, the blind user has no idea because they are impossible to describe.

You're arguing as if a site, or the web as a whole for that matter,
exists in isolation. The 'label' you mention in the part I've left out,
may indeed be just the cue a visitor need. More information can then
either be found on the page/site, somewhere else on the web, or in the
real world.

By providing cues - meaningful alt text and/or otherwise - about the
original, a suitable "translation" can often be found elsewhere by those
who want one.
By not providing cues, we do indeed leave visitors in the dark.

( The site you use as example, contains more than enough information
alongside the image. A reference - alt attribute - to tell _which_ image
that information belongs to is missing though.
Several other weaknesses on that example-site btw - all regarding images. )

There are art galleries that experiment with techniques to make art -
paintings or other types of art - more accessible to those who can't
fully use the senses the artist aimed at. Some of these techniques are
well suited for the digital world, but I don't think they have spread to
the web, yet.

Will something get lost in "translation"? Surely it will. However, that
doesn't mean a blind user is necessarily left with no idea.

Blind people's senses may also be developed far beyond what we - the
seeing - may imagine.
I do have a friend who can interpret flat images pretty well by the use
of her hands. She is sensing differences in reflected temperature,
instead of reflected light that most of us are limited too. That she
also tends to get the use of colors more or less right, is even more
surprising. Given a few more cues she gets a pretty good understanding
about most pictures.
This just to say: don't underestimate people's ability to appreciate
something, just based on what senses they do *not* have.

Alt attributes should stay - be required in HTML 5, and they should be
used in a meaningful way. What's meaningful depends on the case, but if
images are important parts of the content then an alt text should be
provided - even if it is just a 'label'.


List Guidelines:

Reply via email to