Lachlan Hunt wrote:
> What should an authoring tool (like Dreamweaver) insert by default
> when a user adds an image and immediately dismisses the alt text
> prompt?  (It currently omits the attribute unless the user explicitly
> selects "<empty>" or types in some text.)

Currently, most screen technology would prefer alt="", as this signals that
the value string for ALT is... Nothing.  Not great, to be sure, but better
than "DC10567.jpg" or echoing back information provided elsewhere (through
@caption or @title or similar)

> What should wikipedia use by default for images used in articles?  (It
> currently redundantly repeats the image caption in both the alt and
> title attributes)

Wikipedia should allow users to specify alt text (it currently does not).
By design, when uploading an image, there should be a default table in the
DB for alternative text.  Given the many times that images in tools such as
wikipedia re-use images, content authors should be prompted to use the
default alternative text, or supply 'new' alt text.  Currently wikipedia's
answer is to not allow content contributors to provide *any* alt text.

> What should sites like Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook, MySpace, etc.
> generate and insert?

Same as above

> What should forums (e.g. phpBB) or blogs (e.g. Blogger) use?

Same as above

> What should an email application insert when a user emails an image
> to a friend?

This one is trickier, and makes presumptions that are not in evidence.  For
example, this presumes that everyone is using HTML rich email, a bad
presumption.  It secondly presumes that personal one-to-one correspondence
might be shared, a bit of a stretch.  However, assuming that a user is
creating HTML rich email in an authoring environment like Outlook, the tool
should prompt for alt text similar to what tools such as Dreamweaver should
do, and provide the same fallback: alt="".  In online environments
(Yahoo!Mail or Gmail or what-ever) then they should handle this question
like Flickr and Photobucket would.

Nothing in the world will be able to force a content creator to do the right
thing, however entrenching the option to do the wrong thing should never be
considered as part of an emergent spec.  If currently the tools don't get it
right, fix the tools, don't change the rules.


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