Analysis of what gets into the alt and title attributes when adding an image into a page/post

There was some debate in last night’s IRC chat about trac ticket 26270 raised by @yaelkmiller. Her original point was that when adding images to pages and posts, the Alt text box should have more prominence than the Title box – the alt attribute being an important accessibility feature.

Personally, I think the idea is a good one, but discussion and comments by @helen also revealed some interesting behaviour when inserting images concerning what text ends up in the title attribute of the image, and what text ends up in the alt attribute.

I’ve done a series of tests using different use cases and they are presented in the tables below – including my expected results and the actual results.

Uploading images

Test No. Use Case Graham’s Expected Result Actual Result in Page
1 Upload image, add it to page with no change to Title box or Alt text box Title attribute set to image name minus suffix Title attribute absent, alt attribute set to image name minus suffix – ie what the Title box was set to
2 Upload image, add it to page but change Title box, not Alt text box Title attribute set to amended value Title attribute absent, alt attribute set to amended Title box value
3 Upload image, add it to page but change Alt text box, not Title box Title attribute set to image name minus suffix, alt attribute set to amended value Title attribute absent, alt attribute set to amended Alt text box value
4 Upload image, add it to page but change both Alt text box and Title box Both title and alt attributes set to amended values Title attribute absent, alt attribute set to amended Alt text box value

Using images from media library (previously uploaded) without amendment

Test No. Use Case Graham’s Expected Result Actual Result in Page
5 Add image from media library that has Title box set but not Alt text box Title attribute set but not alt Title attribute absent, alt attribute set to whatever Title box was before
6 Add image from media library that has Alt text box set but not Title box Alt attribute set but not title Alt attribute set but not title
7 Add image from media library that has both Title box and Alt text box set Both attrubutes set Title attribute absent, alt attribute set to whatever Alt text box was before
8 Add image from media library that has neither Title box nor Alt text box set Title attribute absent, alt attribute empty Title attribute absent, alt attribute empty

Using images from media library (previously uploaded) but making amendments

Test No. Use Case Graham’s Expected Result Actual Result in Page
9 Add image from media library, that has just Title box set, update Title box Title attribute set but not alt Title attribute absent, alt attribute set to whatever Title box was amended to
10 Add image from media library, that has just Alt text box set, update Alt text box Alt attribute set but not title Title attribute absent, alt attribute set to whatever Alt text box was amended to
11 Add image from media library, that has neither Title box set nor Alt text box set, update Title box Title attribute set but not alt Title attribute absent, alt attribute set to whatever Title box was amended to
12 Add image from media library, that has neither Title box set nor Alt text box set, update Alt text box Alt attribute set, no title attribute Title attribute absent, alt attribute set to whatever Alt text box was amended to
13 Add image from media library, that has both Title box and Alt text box set, update Alt text box Both attributes set Title attribute absent, alt attribute set to whatever Alt text box was amended to
14 Add image from media library, that has both Title box and Alt text box set, update Title box Both attributes set Title attribute absent, alt attribute set to whatever Alt text box was originally set to

Looking at the results

Using the Add Media Panel to insert an imageThe first revealing thing about these tests is that my own view of how I thought WordPress worked is at odds with the actual results in most cases.

The second thing that’s become obvious is that it’s actually impossible to set the title attribute for an image whilst using the Add Media panel. The title attribute never appears in any of the results.

Actually the only way to set a title attribute image within pages and posts is to use the older image edit dialogue box once the image is placed within the page (or to manually update the HTML obviously).

I think the confusion comes from the labeling of the Title input field in the Add Media Panel. Helen refers to this in her comments on the trac ticket I believe. Maybe to avoid confusion this box should be given another label – ‘Image name’ maybe. I confess that I hadn’t noticed this change in WordPress behaviour – it did used to be possible to directly influence the title attribute of an image when uploading and adding it to a page/post.

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who didn’t appreciate this situation. There is a plugin called Shutter Reloaded that I’ve seen on a couple of sites, which uses the title attribute from the image to provide a caption beneath the image when the full size is shown. Obviously this plugin is broken if site admins don’t realise the title attributes aren’t being written into the <img> tags – and the plugin author perhaps doesn’t realise either. I can’t comment on other lightbox plugins.

What do you think? Is this what you expected? Is this the right way to go?

#images, #media-manager, #testing

Potentially useful accessibility plug in I learned about…

Potentially useful accessibility plug-in I learned about today at WordCamp Chicago: https://wordpress.org/plugins/media-ally/

#a11y, #alt, #images, #media, #plugins-2

Add Media Panel and WordPress 3.6 – A Simple Solution?

The beta version of WordPress 3.6 is very close now and the chances of significant extra functionality being included must be slim. But, the Add Media Panel introduced in 3.5 is still inaccessible and the trac tickets raised on this are still untouched.

This is a real problem as the Add Media Panel is such a key piece of functionality.

However, from our IRC chat yesterday the germs of a simple solution may have emerged – a solution that could maybe make the functionality accessible to keyboard and screen reader users. We just need someone to give it a try.

Continue reading

#accessibility, #add-media, #images, #irc, #keyboard, #markup, #media-manager, #screen-reader, #ui

Add Media Panel – Accessibility Issues

I’ve raised this post as I feel that the issue of the Add Media panel accessibility needs some debate amongst the accessibility community.

Last week I raised three WP trac tickets covering my take on the problems from the keyboard access, screen reader and VR aspects. They are: #23560 and #23561.

The main problem as I see it is that it is not possible to select/deselect any of the media without using a mouse.

The functionality primarily acts like a group of checkboxes – selecting one or multiple elements, with feedback that they have been selected. However, that is not how the functionality has actually been implemented – it’s a series of divs contained within an unordered list. There appears to be nothing to receive focus. There are links for each file, but the links appear empty although they are used to show the selected icon. These links are also initially invisible using CSS techniques that hide them from screen readers – hence the no tabbing into the images issue.

Is the use of ARIA going to really be able to help here?

When mouse users select an image they can update the attribute values for that image using the panel to the right – which updates its content automatically. Allowing keyboard users to quickly reach the attributes boxes would obviously be desirable – the alternative being tabbing through all the previously uploaded files.

The media selector panel has been implemented with infinite scrolling, so on mature and/or larger sites with many images/files (I have one) the list of images gets bigger and bigger. From an accessibility perspective I’d favour paging over infinite scrolling, but what’s your take on that?

Is this another area where bending the new functionality to include accessibility might be too much? Is this another place where an accessibility mode is going to be required?

What do you think?

#accessibility, #add-media, #images, #keyboard, #screen-reader

Hey @esmi et al With the new plugin…

Hey @esmi et al: With the new plugin page headers (see https://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/buddypress/ https://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bbpress/ https://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/login-logo/ for examples), what if anything should we be doing around alt tags for those images?

#alt, #images

Try to figure out why it was considered…

Try to figure out why it was considered necessary to add the title of an image as a title attribute to the image markup when inserting images into a post. Whose idea was that? The image’s title attribute serves no real purpose for sighted users but creates a whole load of completely unwanted noise for some screen reader users. Additionally, the title attribute is completely inaccessible to sighted non-mouse users.

So what’s the point of it?

#images