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Re: ToolTips: bug or feature?

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 13:22:31 -0700
Cc: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, public-html@w3.org, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
Message-Id: <D556E7D2-C509-4D69-A108-98AD25CC3697@apple.com>
To: Gregory J. Rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>


On Jul 29, 2007, at 6:52 AM, Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:

>
> lachlan wrote, quote:
>> The alt attribute is only rendered as a tooltip in IE, and
>> that's considered a bug for a variety of reasons. See this article.
>>
>> http://hixie.ch/advocacy/alt-tooltips
> unquote
>
> i find hixie's arguments, decidedly unconvincing.  there ARE valid
> reasons why @alt and @title should be exposed to the user
> onMouseOver -- as i indicated, what you perceive as a logical icon
> may not be understood by a sighted visitor from a vastly different
> culture, so a tooltip exposition of ALT text is actually beneficial
> to users of all stripes.  in the end, all hixie really addressed is
> author complaints, which have far more to do with user agent
> implementations than anything defective in the markup.

I think it makes sense to think of ALT as text that is usually  
expected to be presented instead of an image, and TITLE as text that  
is expected to be presented in addition to an image or other element.  
It seems often desirable to have different text for these two cases.  
It might be a good idea to display both, or display neither, for some  
users.

Given all this, it also seems reasonable for the default setting  
(aimed at the typical user, so normally sighted and non-dyslexic) to  
be that TITLE is shown on hover and ALT is not. It makes sense to  
offer different options to users that have different needs.

Having these features built in to HTML is actually useful in this  
regard, since it is possible to customize what information is shown to  
what users. If there were no tooltip feature in HTML at all, web  
content would use scripting and DHTML, which could not be controlled  
in a selective way by the UA.

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Monday, 30 July 2007 20:22:52 GMT

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