I’ve heard nothing but positive things around the people behind SXSW and accessibility over the years. This posting is not meant to detract from those efforts. In fact, all things being equal, I think most people who put content online would prefer it to be accessible. I do not think people go out of their way to make content inaccessible but rather often do not extend the effort to make content accessible so are left with the default result of whatever process their content publishing tools use.
Looking at the source HTML, we see that the screen reader is doing exactly what’s expected. Namely, it is presenting the alt text, albeit rather confusing in this case. I’m not sure how one should know that -1_23.jpg equals something about iTunes.
<A href=”http://www.itunes.com/sxsw” jQuery1300063703657=”50″><IMG class=centerednb alt=-1_23.jpg src=”/sites/sxsw.com/files/-1_23.jpg” width=171 height=84></A>
At times I’ve experienced progress but believe the web has a long journey before even something as simple as meaningful alternative text is eliminated as a basic accessibility problem.