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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: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2007 16:07:31 -0500
Message-Id: <E127AC0D-66CE-4E4F-B11C-3F61E30BF204@robburns.com>
Cc: Thomas Broyer <t.broyer@gmail.com>, public-html@w3.org
To: Monika Trebo <mtrebo@stanford.edu>

HI Monika,


On Jun 26, 2007, at 3:33 PM, Monika Trebo wrote:

>
> ... 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.
>
>
> [..]

Thank you for replying and providing those distinctions and examples.  
What's your view on the issue of adding @alt to the other embedded  
content elements (<object>, <video>, <audio>, etc.). It strikes me  
that the same usefulness that @alt brings to <img> it would also  
bring to these other elements. Also the other issue that has been  
raised in these threads (likely from my <object> example earlier in  
the thread) is whether @alt and @title might be redundant in the  
sense that since @title is already available  on the embedded content  
elements, there would be no need to add @alt to those elements.

One other issue that your example raises is the roll that @alt plays  
as standby content. Currently object@standby is listed as deprecated  
(dropped) in the draft. Do you think that's wise to drop? Or could  
object@alt serve the same roll?

Again, I don't have real stong feelings on these, except that I feel  
strongly that HTML5 should try to make more sense out of all of these  
related, but subtly different semantic mechanisms: especially related  
to the non-text media, embedded elements and fallback content  
(specifically the elements <object>, <audio>, <video>, suggested  
<still>):

@alt
@title
@standby

<legend> (or <caption> or whatever we end up calling it)
fallback content
media file metadata

(and also @longdesc for the legacy embedded content elements: <img>  
and <embed>)

Similar issues could be related related to tables with the following  
attributes

@summary
td@abbr and th@abbr
<caption>

and also (less AT purely related): td@scope,, th@scope, td@headers,  
td@axis and th@axis

Again, I think these attributes, elements, and other facilities all  
provide subtly different semantics. In my view HTML5 should carefully  
consider the distinct contribution each of these facilities make for  
authoring and consuming documents. Certainly before any of these are  
dropped, we should build some sense of direction (dare I say  
consensus) about it in the WG.

What do you think?

Take care,
Rob
Received on Tuesday, 26 June 2007 21:07:42 UTC

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