HTML5 and alt: New Day Rising

Posted on Thursday, 8 May 2008 by Steve Faulkner

Members of the HTML5 working group have produced an alternative text to that currently available in the specification. It provides text alternative examples that conform rather than conflict with WCAG 2.0.

About Steve Faulkner

Steve is the Senior Web Accessibility Consultant and Technical Director, TPG Europe. He joined The Paciello Group in 2006 and was previously a Senior Web Accessibility Consultant at Vision Australia. He is the creator and lead developer of the Web Accessibility Toolbar accessibility testing tool. Steve is a member of several groups, including the W3C HTML Working Group and the W3C Protocols and Formats Working Group. He is an editor of several specifications at the W3C including HTML 5.1, Using WAI-ARIA in HTML and HTML5: Techniques for providing useful text alternatives. He also develops and maintains HTML5accessibility


  1. Noting the language, “When an appropriate markup language exists like MathML for mathematical equations, it is appropriate to use markup rather than images to convey information,” is a page with an xy scatter graph done as an SVG more accessible than an image with a good alt description? Are there guidelines for making the SVG section itself more accessible?

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Sometimes people ask me where to go for help making their web sites accessible and TPG is always the first thing on my mind because people like Steve Faulkner are right there at the forefront of pushing web accessibility forward. They totally 'get' that to be truly effective in this area you need to understand the whole accessibility ecosystem from assistive technology, to accessible applications, to web standards and so on… this kind of expertise is rare.

David Bolter, Engineering Manager Accessibility - Mozilla