[wp-trac] [WordPress Trac] #8256: Caption and alternative text should not be the same

WordPress Trac wp-trac at lists.automattic.com
Sat Oct 10 10:23:28 UTC 2009

#8256: Caption and alternative text should not be the same
 Reporter:  frankie-roberto   |        Owner:          
     Type:  enhancement       |       Status:  reopened
 Priority:  normal            |    Milestone:  2.9     
Component:  Gallery           |      Version:  2.8     
 Severity:  normal            |   Resolution:          
 Keywords:  has-patch tested  |  

Comment(by bobeaston):

 You beat me to the job of resolving this issue. I've just been looking at

 Yes, your fix is more consistent with HTML 5, but it is also very valid
 for HTML 4 and for [http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/text-equiv-
 all.html /WCAG 2]. It is perfectly valid for alt="" when the image is not
 essential to understanding, such as a decorative or "eye candy" images,
 spacer gifs, etc. The entire difficulty with trying to make a choice
 automatically is that no machine understands how to answer "Is the image

 Your code is almost OK, but does not fix the current problem. In fact, in
 one circumstance it can produce an undesirable outcome.

 Your code depends on alt text already existing. Where does that alt text
 come from? There's no entry field for alt in the upload form. The only
 place a person can currently add legitimate alt text is on the very
 obscure "Advanced Settings" form of the edit image code.

 Currently media.php offers entry fields only for title and caption on the
 upload form. media.php then populates $alt with the return from the
 caption entry field, and then copies that value into the caption
 shortcode. So, you see, alt is virtually guaranteed to be identical to
 caption. If someone had consciously crafted the caption to be useful alt
 text, your change makes it null, the unwanted outcome.

 As an accessibility consultant (my professional job for many years), I
 would resolve the problem in the upload form, the first thing the typical
 user sees. There, I would:

 1. Add a radio button with yes/no values and the question "Is the image
 essential to understanding?"

 2. Offer an input field for alternative text with help that says
 "Describes the image when it can’t be seen." I would also add a -more-
 link to the help text pointing to
 [http://codex.wordpress.org/Accessibility#Describe_Images_and_Links /an
 excellent codex page].

 3. Mark the alternative text entry field with an asterisk, denoting
 required, and add the aria required attributes.

 4. Populate $alt with either provided text or with null dependent on how
 the "essential" question was answered.

 5. Remove the required asterisk from the title entry field and change its
 help text to "Additional information. Appears as hover / tooltip text."

 6. Change the help text for the caption field to "Yet more information –
 i.e. photo credit."

 7. Assign the value entered for caption to the caption shortcode instead
 of assigning it to $alt first.

Ticket URL: <http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/8256#comment:17>
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