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Re: difference between @alt and @title [was RE: the market hasn't spoken - it hasn't bothered to listened [was Re: fear of "invisible metadata"]

From: Monika Trebo <mtrebo@stanford.edu>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 13:33:15 -0700
Message-Id: <0E8B6201-6833-435E-A77F-7E473AE93FD8@stanford.edu>
Cc: Thomas Broyer <t.broyer@gmail.com>, public-html@w3.org
To: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>

... difference between @alt and @title


-- @alt is designed to be alternative and required text description  
of images that appears before the image loads (nice even for sighted  
users, if web authors use big images that load slowly, or for users  
with slow internet connection) or for text-only browsers like lynx.

-- @title can be used for many elements and is useful for sighted  
users, too. @title can provide additional information about eg: what  
is behind a link if the user runs the mouse over it. It can be used  
to describe navigational elements, abbreviations... by displaying pop- 
up tool tips.

-- Meaningful @title text may provide useful information for search  
engine spiders.


example 1:
<body>
...some text...
<p>You'll find a lot more in infomation about this subject on the web  
site of the <a href="http://www.w3.org/" title="World Wide Web  
Consortium Home Page">W3C</a>
</body>

example 2:
<body>
<ul id="nav">
<li><a href="#" title="XY Company">Home</a></li>
<li><a href="#" title="Founders, History and Mission">About</a></li>
<li><a href="#" title="Blog Entries older than 30 days">Archive</a></li>
<li><a href="#" title="Laboratory Safety Procedures and  
Protocols">Lab</a></li>
<li><a href="#" title="Newspaper Articles about our Research">In the  
News</a></li>
<li><a href="#" title="Mailing Address, Phone Numbers and E-mail  
Addresses">Contact</a></li>
<li><a href="#" title="How We protect Your Privacy">Legal</a></li>
</ul>
</body>

Monika





On Jun 26, 2007, at 5:36 AM, Robert Burns wrote:

>
>
> On Jun 26, 2007, at 3:32 AM, Thomas Broyer wrote:
>
>>
>> 2007/6/26, Robert Burns:
>>>
>>> <object
>>>         data="foo.mpeg"
>>>         alt="My kitten fluffy playing with yarn."
>>>         title="fluffy playing with yarn"
>>>   > Fluffy, still only a few inches tall, is playing with a red ball
>>> of yarn that has to 3 times her size. She has just fallen on her  
>>> back
>>> and it looks like the ball of yarn is crushing her. But she's really
>>> just having fun. </object>
>>
>> What would be the difference between @title and @alt then?
>>
>> -- Thomas Broyer
>>
>
>
> I'm not sure. I included title because it may suffice for what @alt  
> is currently used for for the elements with full fallback content.  
> I'm raising this because I don't know the answer. I'd like to hear  
> from others with more experience with accessibility UAs and  
> authoring and such. Again, my suggestion is that we need to add a  
> <still> (or otherwise named element) to include with the other new  
> embedded content elements that handles fallback properly for still  
> images. By adding such an element we can then deprecate or drop  
> (whatever term we want to use) <img> and <embed> in favor of  
> <object>, <still> and the newly added embedded content elements.  
> Along with dropping those @alt and @longdesc would also be dropped,  
> because they would no longer be necessary for the other more modern  
> embedded content elements.
>
> Again, this means that <embed> and <img> would continue to work in  
> the existing browsers and other UAs, but we would be marking a  
> future path for UAs and authors to use new and better embedded  
> content elements that better handle fallback content. The only  
> question that remains in my mind is whether any need for the @alt  
> attribute is completely eliminated. Part of the reason @alt is  
> necessary is because @longdesc (which was added to deal with the  
> <img> element's inability to handle fallback content within its tags).
>
> So perhaps @title deals adequately with any abbreviated /  
> auxiliary / alternate text for all the embedded content elements  
> that provide rich fallback content. I'd like to hear what others  
> think about the issue.
>
> My example was meant to draw some attention to that. I also drafted  
> it to demonstrate how the fallback content would probably not be  
> appropriate for a <caption> or <legend> element. However, we should  
> keep in mind that there are several subtly  different mechanisms  
> for all sorts of text related to non-text media: the <legend> /  
> <caption> element, the @title attribute, the @alt attribute the  
> element's fallback contents and the description and keywords  
> metadata from the media files.
>
> These sources of information do not (and should not) duplicate one  
> another. Fallback content (as in the example) is not the same thing  
> that belongs in the <caption> / <legend>. However, the @title, @alt  
> and <caption> / <legend> may be very closely related and  
> potentially redundant (considering such we should be warn authors  
> to avoided such redundancy).
>
> Take care,
> Rob
>
Received on Tuesday, 26 June 2007 20:33:22 UTC

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