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Re: file name plus file size not a bad starting ALT

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 12:24:04 -0700
Message-Id: <4.1.19990624120906.02d3d490@mail.idyllmtn.com>
To: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>, w3c-wai-au@w3.org
One thing to point out is that it's VERY easy for the filename
and/or file size to get out of synch.  Someone who is now our
client at Idyll Mountain Internet previously had a home page
that used the "filename.jpg 75238 bytes" ALT text for their
primary image.

Unfortunately, someone with less sense than is desirable replaced
the image with an ANIMATED version of the same logo, that was
over 1 meg in size.  They did not change the ALT text!  This
resulted in a "75238 bytes" ALT text for a file that was much,
much larger!

I would suggest that since the image filename is already available
via the SRC attribute, using ALT to convey this redundant information
is a poor idea.  If the image name is required by certain users,
then it should be the job of the User Agent (browser) to provide
that information upon request, possibly with an option to use the
file name as alternative text if there is no value specified for
the ALT attribute.

Similarly, if someone requires the file size, this could likely be
accomplished with an intelligent User Agent that issues HEAD
requests for all images on the page and presents the size of the
content inline.

I think it's important to separate which information can be supplied
by the User Agent and which must be supplied by the Author (or the
Authoring Tool).  If the User Agent can easily and _accurately_
autogenerate something from the information presented to it, then
there is no need for the Author or the Authoring Tool to do anything
special.  All the information necessary for the "low bandwidth"
user to make a decision can be gathered without needing to take
over and misuse ALT, and so it should be avoided whenever
possible.

[Apologies if I'm basically repeating exactly what Charles said.]

--
Kynn Bartlett                                    mailto:kynn@hwg.org
President, HTML Writers Guild                    http://www.hwg.org/
AWARE Center Director                          http://aware.hwg.org/
Received on Thursday, 24 June 1999 15:29:03 UTC

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