[spec] Clarify purpose of alt-text

Adnan Maolood me at adnano.co
Sun Feb 28 15:41:56 GMT 2021


On Sun Feb 28, 2021 at 10:20 AM EST, Luke Emmet wrote:
> I disagree - at present the spec lends equal weight to the two possible
> interpretations of the label of the preformatted text areas
>
> - they may be interpreted as an alternative label for screen reader
> (an accessibility label since ascii art is meaningless to non-visual
> users)
> - they may be used for text type identification (to convey the type of
> content shown, for syntax highlighting or possibly more useful semantic
> purposes, for example a client may choose not to render ascii art at
> all)

Currently the specification only allows for specifying the language for
computer source code, not for identifying the type of text. So this
would mean expanding the scope of the specification, not restricting it.
I am not really in favor of this.

> The spec does not restrict to a single application or interpretation of
> the label for these preformatted areas. Both elements are important.
>
> It is a reduction in scope to turn the may to a must as you suggest.
> From an accessibility point of view, you could say that indicating the
> content type is actually more important to screen readers as they can
> definitively use that to choose whether to show the content or not.

Are both elements *really* important?

Are there really any content types besides ASCII art that clients would
need to decide whether to show or not?

- Code can be read as-is. I believe that syntax highlighting is not
  really necessary. The language used for the code can be inferred by a
  human from the surrounding text, or the author can write a small
  sentence underneath each preformatted code block describing the code.
- Poems can be read as-is, so should not have any alt text.
- Tables probably do not belong in Gemini text.

In my opinion designating the content type is not really necessary for
the above examples. It is much simpler to treat the presence of alt-text
as an indicator that the preformatted text is not accessible.


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