Education and Outreach Working Group Teleconference

27 Sep 2013


There were items of discussion: First was to review Bim's response to the Image Tutorial comments, which largely centered on choosing an order for the presentation of various image types within the turotial and the question of how to approach null alt. Second was a reminder about the ongoing UAAG and ATAG promotion. With ATAG expected to go into Candidate rec very soon, most attention will be on that. Wayne and Sharron agreed to lead and Paul will contribute. All group membmers are asked to review existing plan for outreach and to comment and contribute companies/audiences to contact. Finally, EO members discussed the continued lack of uptake for WAI-Engage and considered whether other outreach outlets, like stackoverflow, may be a more useful place for outreach to development community.


  1. Discuss Images Tutorial open comments (related links: Images Tutorial, review survey)
  2. ATAG & UAAG promotion (Promoting Components & ATAG, Promoting ATAG, 23 May minutes, 24 May minutes) - update status and plan for promotions


Suzette, Sharron, AnnaBelle, Shawn, Paul, Bim, Andrew, Paul, Howard
Helle, Shadi, Vicki, Sylvie


Image Tutorial comments

<shawn> http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/wiki/Tutorial_-_Images#For_discussion_27_Sept

<shawn> draft: http://www.w3.org/WAI/tutorials/images/

Andrew: Reads his comment, explains a bit more

Suzette: Agrees and sends kudos to Bim. While we spend time convincing people to use alt but in some ways contradict ourselves by suggesting many images are decorative. Gives example of son's experience of finding prevalent belief that empty alt is a problem.
... suggest to make decorative image a more positive choice.

Sharron: What would it be to make decorative more positive?

Shawn: Let's discuss order first.

Bim: I am happy to change it. The rationale was the question of impact. It is more serious if an informative image has inaccurate alt than if a decorative one does.
... but I am happy to change to the order Andrew suggested if that is how most people feel. it could help with some of the points Vicki raised as well.

AnnaBelle: I weigh in with the authors, such as Suzette's son. Maybe I have been doing it wrong all these years. When there is a borderline call between informative and decorative, I tend to go toward including alt text. if in doubt, my rule of thumb is to put at least a brief descriptive alt.

Andrew: I had a client for whom it depended on whether there was a low or no vision condition early or at birth or those who acquired their vision loss. The latter group seemed to want more visual information.

Shawn: Yes there is no hard and fast rule. But what about the question of order - which should come first?

AnnaBelle: I think informative should go first and it might be confusing to have decorative first.

Shawn: Yes that we would be saying use alt text..but in this case, don't

<shawn> proposal: informative; decorative; functional; text; complex; groups; image-maps

Shawn: any other thoughts?

<paulschantz> informative first, then decorative

Suzette: This looks good to me.

<paulschantz> ...although I spend a lot more time explaining decorative images to my customers

Suzette: we need to anticipate and let people know first of all what good alt text is and how to let people know what they are missing.

<paulschantz> +1

<Suzette2> +1

<AnnaBelle> +1

Sharron: +1

<Andrew> +1

<shawn> +1

<Bim> +1

<shawn> Decorative images: Used purely for decorative purposes and do not convey any unique information. The text alternative should be null (alt="").

Shawn: So let's talk about how we frame the decorative image info

Andrew: Reads from the current summary

<shawn> Decorative images are those that do not add information, for example because the information provided by the image is already provided by adjacent text or because the image is purely decorative.

Shawn: So how can we more positively state that?

Suzette: It sounds a bit negative to say "purely" decorative.
... there is a bit of double negativity, a strong sense of just don't use it.
... how do you determine purely decorative?

Shawn: So how can you more positively say it?

Andrew: Images used to add visual interest to the page.

<Bim> +1 to visual interest

<paulschantz> Like Andrew's suggestion

Andrew: Images added not to add information but to add visual engagement.

Suzette: And for those with low literacy a text only page can be quite impenetrable

<shawn> Shawn: rather than conveying important information

<shawn> rather than conveying important information that people need to understand the web page

Bim: It would be a good idea to emphasize the ability of images to help those with low literacy or non-native speakers to a site. They are great visual cues as well for those who are using screen magnification.

Shawn: So maybe we want to add the idea of images used to aid understanding.

Bim: yep

<shawn> Decorative images: Images used to add visual interest to the page, rather than conveying important information that people need to understand the web page.

<shawn> Decorative images: Images used to add visual interest to the page, rather than to convey important information that people need to understand the page.

Shawn: if we can get the main idea down, Bim can polish...what do others think?

<paulschantz> LIKE

<Andrew> +1

<Bim> +1

<AnnaBelle> +1

<Sharron> +1

<shawn> +1

<Suzette2> +1

Shawn: Bim, should we actually say something about how alt text when it is redundant can add aural clutter?
... in the decorative images subpage, should we more clearly explain why it should be null? Screen readers don't want to hear description of an image that does not add to content understanding.

Bim: When alt is too literal, it can in fact take the whole topic off of the actual content thread.

NOTE FOR BIM: To more clearly explain why alt should be null within the decorative images subpage.

Sharron: and consider moving the issue of what happens when there is no alt (reading file names) move that info to concept level.

AnnaBelle: Can I bring up a sidelight of decorative alt being null? The SEO folks are teaching everyone that keywords in alt text are helpful.

Shawn: So in the concepts we may want to explain the difference.

Andrew: Not sure how to phrase it, but the notion of inappropriate alt text.

<Andrew> Andrew reads Loretta Guarino Reid's comment re HTML or technology-neutral

Bim: I also wanted to gather opinions from EOWG about the overall use of HTML as our examples and that the principles also apply to other technologies.
... I can do this for Images but when it comes to other technologies, there is a very small range of software that allows editing of other technologies. Vendor neutrality makes this difficult.

Shawn: Did we not decide that we would stay with HTML discussions?

Andrew: We could make a note that the same concepts can be applied to other technologies without mentioning them by name?

Bim: We do so.

AnnaBelle: What about WAI-ARIA?

Bim: That is another discussion. We may save that for another iteration. There is still some discussion about the correct way to do that. For example aria-describedby and how it is rendered. All of these things have potential overkill or noise for screen readers who may have to hear it twice. I am waiting for guidance from higher authorities about how to approach it.
... I did at one point include aria role=presentation, but since it was the only mention and there is no technique that uses it, we took it out.

Shawn: I think it would be very important to have a clear list of things that we want to add as soon as it is stable enough.
... Bim is still working through the comments in the survey and we may have more comments to discuss in EO

Bim: Yes I have gotten feedback from most.

Shawn: Anything else on the current comments on the Images Tutorial?

Bim: No I would only encourage everyone to look and see how I am responding. Thank you all!

UAAG and ATAG promotion

Shawn: We have worked on this previously.

<shawn> http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/wiki/Promoting_Components_%26_ATAG

<shawn> http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/changelogs/cl-atag-promo

<shawn> http://www.w3.org/2011/05/23-eo-minutes

<shawn> http://www.w3.org/2011/05/24-eo-minutes#item03

Shawn: Status is: ATAG just issued another Last Call Working Draft. Comments end next week. Hoping to fly through this - 3rd or 4th - and move along to Candidate Recommendation. Purpose of that stage is to get implementations. Must show that is there are at least two tools that successfully do it.
... anybody who develops an authoring tool is strongly encouraged to make the claims of implementation.
... other aspect is to promote this much more stable version. Hey authoring tools, you should do this. Hey you buyers, you should ask for ATAG conformance.
... previously Sharron and Wayne had done some work on this, so we should revisit, jump in and help with leading the efforts on promotion.

Paul: I don't have the time to lead, but would be happy to support the effort. I read last night and made the connection to implementation and Candidate recommendation.
... relevant to me now in the work we do with Drupal.

Shawn: We need to be very clear about"if you are a tool vendor, here is what you need to do..."
... so Paul, what jumped out at you when reading the notes?

Paul: Seemed like a struggle in how to address dev community.
... and I don't know how to address either right now.

Shawn: What you saw was a mix of refined ideas and brainstorming. Any other thoughts?

Sharron: I think Wayne is still quite interested in working on this.

Howard: And I can mention it at Accessing Higher Ground

Shawn: And by that time, if it is in Candidate Recommendation you can announce as breaking news
... maybe we want to provide sample email text for sending in support.

<Andrew> +1 to sample emails - to developers, to procurers, to ???

Shawn: we still need to have leadership on this project. So either within the group or even external to help lead the outreach effort on this promotion.
... Next is UAAG, want to try to move into Last Call in October but they feel they haven't had enough input from User Agent vendors
... that is our agenda for today. Any other questions or additions?
... finally let's do a general comment on things you are hearing in the field.

Paul: Lots of interest from your WebAIM post.

Shawn: Yes, people seem happy to fire off a quick email reply but not engage beyond that.

WAI-Engage engagement

Shawn: So for example last year when someone in the community said, let's create a Body of Knowledge for Accessiiblity, everyone said yes yes yes, but no one did it.
... so the consideration is this: Are we spinning our wheels with WAI-Engage?

Paul: But people will participate in the places where they are comfortable.
... I would be in favor of placing the Body of Knowledge here.

Shawn: it never materialized

Andrew: You go through emails, you will send an email response, but don't put it on a todo list or a way to follow up.

Paul: Yes, hard to make the commitment.

Andrew: What if we go through the wai-IG list and ask for comment and then place those in a compilation on the WAI-Engage wiki. ask them what they think

Shawn: They would respond by email

<shawn> Andrew: most people better at responding to something, than creating something

AnnaBelle: But that would at least seed it. So there is in fact something already there that people can consider and respond to.

<paulschantz> maybe something like a sub-reddit?

Shawn: Part of the WAI-ACT project is to create an open community forum. One idea was to have a rating system. Ask a question, people respond, people vote, best answers float to the top. Should we try something like that?
... signal to noise ratio is too high within the email threads and all the peripheral text that is carried along.
... so if the voting platform worked well, it could be great in cutting through the noise. But to get soemthing new going is difficult. As Andrew noted, it is hard to get people out of their comfort zone.

<AnnaBelle> Like StackOverflow?

Shawn: what are the chances that something like that would succeed?

<shawn> Sharron: platform a few years ago on improving websites, etc. hired a company to do just that - put questions, vote, etc. put a ton of $ anf effort into it. yet participation was very small. even for months, maybe 100 people who participated, and only a dozen really active (and probably mostly staff)

<shawn> ... too many things competing for attention

<paulschantz> stackoverflow is place people go to find answers

Paul: AnnaBelle mentioned stack overflow. Are you thinking that there would be a place where questions are asked and answers are rated and voted on by others in the community. searchable, etc similar to stack overflow

Shawn: yes similar

<paulschantz> yes

AnnaBelle: This is a very successful model among devlopers.

Shawn: So maybe we integrate there.

Sharron: I like that idea of integrating there.

Howard: They have certain momentum you need to build - resources are needed to draw people. The beginning phases are most challenging.

AnnaBelle: I find it very useful. If I search for a question and find a stack overflow response in my search results, I use it.

Howard: I use it for php, technical work

<shawn> http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/accessibility

<shawn> wai-engage wiki http://www.w3.org/community/wai-engage/wiki/Main_Page

<shawn> (above is wiki)

<shawn> main page http://www.w3.org/community/wai-engage/

Howard: WAI-Engage is a bit obscure about what it is , what its purpose is?
... I saw the things from Jennison and after that I found it difficult about what information was actually there.

Shawn: Yes from the main community page, that is correct. Everything is actually on the wiki, but that is just one tiny link.

Howard: Yes it seems it should be more integrated.

Shawn: Maybe Sharron can take an action to add a prominant link to wiki that lets people know that is where the real action is.

Sharron: Yes, I will

Shawn: When you have time, AnnaBelle let's get back to work on the illustrations

AnnaBelle: I am thinking that next week will be better than the last two.

Shawn: Great, thanks all. If there is nothing else, will wish you a happy Friday, good weekend and bye.

Summary of Action Items

[End of minutes]

Minutes formatted by David Booth's scribe.perl version 1.138 (CVS log)
$Date: 2013/10/22 19:49:58 $