Provide a method to allow alternate text for images to be provided at the file description page
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Description

This is a web accessibility issue. We ought be providing alt text for images (especially those whose only content is a link, otherwise it outputs the file name as alt text). It has also recently become a requirement for FA. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Alternate_text_for_images

Rather than reproducing the alternate text every time the image is called, it would be useful to provide it at the file description page, with a magic word or template and for it to be provided as the default alt text whenever it the image is displayed.

When I asked at the village pump (provided URL), MZMcBride told me "It sounds as though you want a modification made to the image table to store alt text in a column."

Ideally, we should be able to override the alt-text contained at the image page with local code. So, say at [[File:Foo.png]], we had something like

{{DEFAULTALT:A picture of a typical sized foo on a blue background.}}

Whenever Image:Foo.png was called, this would be the alt-text provided for screen readers and the like. However if you needed some different alt text (perhaps this is an article on Foo in general and you need to describe each foo at greater length), you could provide it in the usual way.

[[File:Foo.png|alt=A typical sized foo on a blue background. This particular foo is shaped like a bar.]]

The alternative is having bots editing every page that uses the image and inserting the alt-text, obviously this way would make things much, much easier.


Version: unspecified
Severity: enhancement
URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Village_pump_%28technical%29/Archive_62#Would_it_be_possible_to_hard-code_alternate_text_for_images.2C_i.e._at_the_File:_description_page.3F

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Xeno created this task.Via LegacyJul 24 2009, 12:54 AM
bzimport added a comment.Via ConduitAug 27 2009, 10:01 AM

bury.rodan wrote:

I strongly oppose this idea. Alt text depends heavily on context, as explained in
our guidelines for alt text.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Alternative_text_for_images#Context

Xeno added a comment.Via ConduitAug 27 2009, 11:47 AM

That is why I have asked for the option to over-ride the default provided at the image page.

The current method of including it when the image is called clearly isn't scaling.

There are certain images used on over thousands of pages. Take, for example, a medal. Does the alt text of an image of a medal change with context? Probably not. So, you would rather edit thousands of pages to include a boilerplate alt-text for the medal? This is sub-optimal.

bzimport added a comment.Via ConduitAug 27 2009, 5:57 PM

bury.rodan wrote:

Still disagree. Concerning icons, the best solution for both usability and accessibility is to remove the link and leave an empty alt. What should we do if a general alt text is added ? It would't do any good.

Plus, many decorative thumbnail images contain enough description in the caption. And, concerning the thumbnails only, alt text should not duplicate the caption. In those cases, we should only add some short alt text, only to prevent a screen reader from reading the filename. Again, what should we do if some longer alt text is added ?

Xeno added a comment.Via ConduitAug 27 2009, 6:52 PM

You can only remove the link for public domain images, otherwise you run into a cc-by-sa attribution violation.

I think it would be eminently useful and in the cases where context matters, it can be overridden. Else, we would need a bot to propagate the alt text for frequently used images.

You may disagree with turning this feature on for en.wiki; that's not something we should debate here. The developers can program this feature and then individual mediawiki installations can enable it or not, at their discretion. I'm fine with this feature not being enabled by default, and having a community discussion once it is ready.

bzimport added a comment.Via ConduitAug 27 2009, 7:59 PM

bury.rodan wrote:

Ok, but this feature should be disabled for images containing a "|link=" parameter. Because if the image links to another page, a general alt text can't be used, it needs a special alt text. Plus, if the image contains an empty "|link=" parameter, then it should be disabled too. :-)

Xeno added a comment.Via ConduitAug 27 2009, 9:01 PM

I would endorse both those contingencies.

As I understand it, "link=" (empty) is generally used to denote entirely an decorative ( public domain! ) image that doesn't require alt text.

bzimport added a comment.Via ConduitFeb 4 2010, 10:19 AM

agr wrote:

I would like to endorse the above suggestion. If you read Wikipedia:Alternative text for images, you'll see that the requirements for alt text generally do not depend on the image's use. A local override can deal with the exceptions. Having the alt text associated with the image makes it easy to find images that lack alt text and would enable a maintenance project to systematically add them.

bzimport added a comment.Via ConduitFeb 14 2010, 9:22 PM

Elonka wrote:

Strong endorsement as well. When an image is used in several locations, it's cumbersome to have to manually reproduce the alt text on each article, rather than have it be automatically drawn from the central image file. Local overrides can handle any cases where the alt text needs to be different.

IAlex added a comment.Via ConduitMar 5 2010, 10:45 AM
  • Bug 22726 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Xeno added a comment.Via ConduitMar 19 2010, 1:10 PM

As suggested by [[en:user:Iridescent]], the {{DEFAULTALT}} magicword should also accept a language parameter.

{{DEFAULTALT:en:This is a foo}}

{{DEFAULTALT:fr:Il s'agit d'un truc}}

bzimport added a comment.Via ConduitAug 1 2010, 8:01 PM

Archduk3 wrote:

Very strong endorsement.

bzimport added a comment.Via ConduitAug 11 2010, 10:33 PM

M8R-cyc3n3 wrote:

(In reply to comment #0)

When I asked at the village pump (provided URL), MZMcBride told me "It sounds
as though you want a modification made to the image table to store alt text in
a column."

would or wouldn't sites need to $wgEnableScaryTranscluding to access the default
alt-text of images on a shared repository viz. commons? :s

Xeno added a comment.Via ConduitAug 12 2010, 12:50 PM

(In reply to comment #12)

(In reply to comment #0)
> When I asked at the village pump (provided URL), MZMcBride told me "It sounds
> as though you want a modification made to the image table to store alt text in
> a column."

would or wouldn't sites need to $wgEnableScaryTranscluding to access the
default
alt-text of images on a shared repository viz. commons? :s

Not sure. We already 'scarily' transclude description pages from commons, so obviously there's something going on there already without scaryTransclusion being enabled.

Gilles added a project: Multimedia.Via WebNov 24 2014, 3:20 PM

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