Some comments on the ISSUE-142 decision

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Some comments on the ISSUE-142 decision

Peter Winnberg
These are some comments about the decision [1] on ISSUE-142 to not add
a way to provide alternate text for the poster attribute on the video
element in HTML5.

The change proposal [2] that was adopted fails to provide any way to
provide an alternate text for the image provided in the poster
attribute on the video element. By adopting this change proposal does
the HTML-WG mean that there is no need to make all features in HTML5
accessible to everyone? The discussion should have been about how to
make the best possible technical solution to this problem (or remove
the poster attribute completely, but these seems like a bad option for
everyone).

Looking at the decision it seems like if this alternate text for the
poster attribute should be mandatory or not caused some discussion.
There is no need to decide that now, in fact why not wait until there
is a decision on ISSUE-31 about alternate text on the img element so
that HTML5 is consistent in how it handles alternate text on all
images? In addition to that it seems like that people are already
using the video element without alternate text for the poster element
is considered a problem:

"[...] and that it introduces a non-backwards compatible change which
affects existing content and implementations without providing a
migration plan."

HTML5 is in an early step in the process to becoming a web standard.
Early adopters of the specification clearly must assume that there
will be many changes made to the specification at this stage and that
they will need to adapt to them. Adding a way to provide alternate
text for an image ( or anything else that help make some feature in
HTML5 more accessible ) should not be seen as a problem even for early
adopters, this will help them create HTML5 documents / web browsers
that are accessible to everyone.

Because of this I support John Foliot’s efforts [3] to get this
decision changed.

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2011Mar/0690.html
[2] http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/ChangeProposals/NoPosterAlt
[3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2011Mar/0697.html


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Re: Some comments on the ISSUE-142 decision

Philip Jägenstedt-2
Hej Peter,

On Tue, 29 Mar 2011 20:17:53 +0200, Peter Winnberg
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> These are some comments about the decision [1] on ISSUE-142 to not add
> a way to provide alternate text for the poster attribute on the video
> element in HTML5.
>
> The change proposal [2] that was adopted fails to provide any way to
> provide an alternate text for the image provided in the poster
> attribute on the video element. By adopting this change proposal does
> the HTML-WG mean that there is no need to make all features in HTML5
> accessible to everyone?

My reasoning is that whatever mechanism is used to provide a short text
alternative for the video itself is the mechanism that should be used to
provide a short text alternative for the poster image. Sighted users
cannot know if what they are seeing is the poster image or a frame from
the video, so making that distinction for AT users seems utterly
unhelpful. If the poster image brings attention to some aspect of the
video or includes important text, then focus on the same aspect and
include the same text in the the short text alternative for the video.

> Looking at the decision it seems like if this alternate text for the
> poster attribute should be mandatory or not caused some discussion.
> There is no need to decide that now, in fact why not wait until there
> is a decision on ISSUE-31 about alternate text on the img element so
> that HTML5 is consistent in how it handles alternate text on all
> images? In addition to that it seems like that people are already
> using the video element without alternate text for the poster element
> is considered a problem:
>
> "[...] and that it introduces a non-backwards compatible change which
> affects existing content and implementations without providing a
> migration plan."
>
> HTML5 is in an early step in the process to becoming a web standard.
> Early adopters of the specification clearly must assume that there
> will be many changes made to the specification at this stage and that
> they will need to adapt to them. Adding a way to provide alternate
> text for an image ( or anything else that help make some feature in
> HTML5 more accessible ) should not be seen as a problem even for early
> adopters, this will help them create HTML5 documents / web browsers
> that are accessible to everyone.

Certainly, it's sometimes acceptable to change the syntax and break
existing content if there are good reasons. For example, the autobuffer
attribute was replaced by the preload attribute even though Firefox had
already implemented and shipped support for the autobuffer attributebu.

In this case, even if we all agreed that a dedicated short text
alternative for poster is needed, there's no reason to change the poster
attribute itself to achieve that, just adding another attribute (e.g.
posteralt) would be quite sufficient.

--
Philip Jägenstedt
Core Developer
Opera Software