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Re: Empty ALT=""

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 18:40:55 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199811162340.SAA29216@access1.digex.net>
To: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org
Please see

 <http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/wai-gl-techniques-19980918.html#spacer-images>

for the current draft guidance on this question.  This says that
null alt text is appropriate under certain circumstances.  It
remains to be seen whether a particular heuristic will recognize
these circumstances accurately or not.

Al

to follow up on what Michael Vorburger said:

> Chris and others interested in the matter,
> 
>    I agree everything SHOULD have a purpose, but in the "real-world" case of
> a 1x20 transparent GIF for spacing, I really cannot see the purpose of
> (automatically) adding any other ALT than ALT="". What could be the interest
> of a text-only user to see ALT="decoration image" for this case???
>     -----Original Message-----
>     From: Chris Ridpath [mailto:chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca]
>     Sent: Monday, November 16, 1998 3:11 PM
>     To: mike
>     Subject: Re: Automatic Alt Text Generation
> 
> 
>     Michael,
> 
>     I'm looking forward to looking at the specs for your semester project
> next week. Please let me know when they're available.
> 
>     It seems to me that everything in the document has a purpose. The
> purpose of the decorative image you describe is decoration (ALT="decoration
> image"). If you allow ALT="" then the Lynxx user does not know if the
> document creator forgot to put in Alt text or it is one of your decoration
> images.
> 
>     Cheers,
>     Chris
> 
>         -----Original Message-----
>         From: Michael Vorburger <mike@vorburger.ch>
>         To: Chris Ridpath <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>
>         Date: November 14, 1998 10:12 AM
>         Subject: RE: Automatic Alt Text Generation
> 
> 
>         Chris
> 
>           tx for pointing me to the WAI-AU mailing list, which I did not
> know before. I read the web archive of the ALT text discussion. My ALTifier
> tool is going to set ALT="" for an IMG which clearly is "decorative only",
> like a transparent 1x10 GIF etc. I think this is good and cannot see the
> problem with this. I did incorporate the relevant parts of Daniel's
> text-equiv page into my project.
> 
>            I hope to publish the full specification of my semester project
> next week and am looking forward to any comments from you and the others
> from the list! We will probably also talk about it the next phone
> conference.
> 
>         Regards,
>         Michael
>             -----Original Message-----
>             From: Chris Ridpath [mailto:chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca]
>             Sent: Friday, November 06, 1998 3:56 PM
>             To: mike
>             Subject: Re: Automatic Alt Text Generation
> 
> 
>             Michael,
> 
>             Daniel has a page with several ideas concerning the automatic
> creation of Alt text. A couple of the ideas were discussed in the phone
> conversation but I haven't seen the minutes yet. Daniels ideas can be found
> at:
> 
>             http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/text-equiv.htm
> 
>             There has been some discussion about the generation of automatic
> Alt text on the w3c-wai-au@w3.org list.
> 
>             The current authoring tool guidelines can be found at:
> 
>             http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA/WD-WAI-USERAGENT-19981030/
> 
>             They haven't been updated to include the suggestions for
> automatic Alt text generation yet.
> 
>             Hope this helps,
>             Chris
> 
>                 -----Original Message-----
>                 From: Michael Vorburger <mike@vorburger.ch>
>                 To: Chris Ridpath <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>
>                 Date: November 6, 1998 5:22 AM
>                 Subject: RE: Automatic Alt Text Generation
> 
> 
>                 Hello Chris
> 
>                   I was unfortunately not able to participate in the conf.
> call this time. I am very interested in the suggestions for Automatic ALT
> Text generation. Could you maybe send them to me by private mail, or point
> the URL of the authoring tool guidelines if already published? I will be
> happy to comment on them.
> 
>                 Tx,
>                 Michael
>                     -----Original Message-----
>                     From: w3c-wai-er-ig-request@w3.org
> [mailto:w3c-wai-er-ig-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of Chris Ridpath
>                     Sent: Thursday, November 05, 1998 9:58 PM
>                     To: w3c-wai-er-ig
>                     Subject: Automatic Alt Text Generation
> 
> 
>                     I've made a couple of suggestions for inclusion in the
> authoring tool guidelines as we discussed in the recent conference call.
> Please let me know if you have any comments.
> 
> 

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> <HTML>
> <HEAD>
> 
> <META content=text/html;charset=iso-8859-1 http-equiv=Content-Type><!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD W3 HTML//EN"><!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD W3 HTML//EN">
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> <BODY bgColor=#fffbf0>
> <DIV><SPAN class=600510923-16111998><FONT color=#0000ff face=Arial size=2>Chris 
> and others interested in the matter,</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
> <DIV><SPAN class=600510923-16111998><FONT color=#0000ff face=Arial 
> size=2></FONT></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
> <DIV><SPAN class=600510923-16111998><FONT color=#0000ff face=Arial 
> size=2>&nbsp;&nbsp; I agree everything SHOULD have a purpose, but in the 
> &quot;real-world&quot; case of a 1x20 transparent GIF for spacing, I really 
> cannot see the purpose of (automatically) adding any other ALT than 
> ALT=&quot;&quot;. What could be the interest of a text-only user to see 
> ALT=&quot;decoration image&quot; for this case???</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
> <BLOCKQUOTE 
> style="BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff solid 2px; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">
>     <DIV class=OutlookMessageHeader><FONT face="Times New Roman" 
>     size=2>-----Original Message-----<BR><B>From:</B> Chris Ridpath 
>     [mailto:chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca]<BR><B>Sent:</B> Monday, November 16, 1998 
>     3:11 PM<BR><B>To:</B> mike<BR><B>Subject:</B> Re: Automatic Alt Text 
>     Generation<BR><BR></FONT></DIV>
>     <DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>Michael,</FONT></DIV>
>     <DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
>     <DIV><FONT size=2>I'm looking forward to looking at the specs for your 
>     semester project next week. Please let me know when they're 
>     available.</FONT></DIV>
>     <DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
>     <DIV><FONT size=2>It seems to me that everything in the document has a 
>     purpose. The purpose of the decorative image you describe is decoration 
>     (ALT=&quot;decoration image&quot;). If you allow ALT=&quot;&quot; then the 
>     Lynxx user does not know if the document creator forgot to put in Alt text 
>     or it is one of your decoration images.</FONT></DIV>
>     <DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
>     <DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>Cheers,</FONT></DIV>
>     <DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT><FONT size=2>Chris</FONT></DIV>
>     <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
>     <BLOCKQUOTE 
>     style="BORDER-LEFT: #000000 solid 2px; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">
>         <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2><B>-----Original 
>         Message-----</B><BR><B>From: </B>Michael Vorburger &lt;<A 
>         href="mailto:mike@vorburger.ch">mike@vorburger.ch</A>&gt;<BR><B>To: 
>         </B>Chris Ridpath &lt;<A 
>         href="mailto:chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca">chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca</A>&gt;<BR><B>Date: 
>         </B>November 14, 1998 10:12 AM<BR><B>Subject: </B>RE: Automatic Alt Text 
>         Generation<BR><BR></DIV></FONT>
>         <DIV><SPAN class=540340715-14111998><FONT color=#0000ff face=Arial 
>         size=2>Chris</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
>         <DIV><SPAN class=540340715-14111998><FONT color=#0000ff face=Arial 
>         size=2></FONT></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
>         <DIV><SPAN class=540340715-14111998><FONT color=#0000ff face=Arial 
>         size=2>&nbsp; tx for pointing me to the WAI-AU mailing list, which I did 
>         not know before. I read the web archive of the ALT text discussion. My 
>         ALTifier tool is going to set ALT=&quot;&quot; for an IMG which clearly 
>         is &quot;decorative only&quot;, like a transparent 1x10 GIF etc. I think 
>         this is good and cannot see the problem with this. I did incorporate the 
>         relevant parts of Daniel's text-equiv page into my 
>         project.</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
>         <DIV><SPAN class=540340715-14111998><FONT color=#0000ff face=Arial 
>         size=2></FONT></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
>         <DIV><SPAN class=540340715-14111998><FONT color=#0000ff face=Arial 
>         size=2>&nbsp;&nbsp; I hope to publish the full specification of my 
>         semester project next week and am looking forward to any comments from 
>         you and the others from the list! We will probably also talk about it 
>         the next phone conference.</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
>         <DIV><SPAN class=540340715-14111998><FONT color=#0000ff face=Arial 
>         size=2></FONT></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
>         <DIV><SPAN class=540340715-14111998><FONT color=#0000ff face=Arial 
>         size=2>Regards,</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
>         <DIV><SPAN class=540340715-14111998><FONT color=#0000ff face=Arial 
>         size=2></FONT></SPAN><SPAN class=540340715-14111998><FONT color=#0000ff 
>         face=Arial size=2>Michael</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
>         <BLOCKQUOTE 
>         style="BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff solid 2px; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">
>             <DIV class=OutlookMessageHeader><FONT face="Times New Roman" 
>             size=2>-----Original Message-----<BR><B>From:</B> Chris Ridpath [<A 
>             href="mailto:chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca">mailto:chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca</A>]<BR><B>Sent:</B> 
>             Friday, November 06, 1998 3:56 PM<BR><B>To:</B> 
>             mike<BR><B>Subject:</B> Re: Automatic Alt Text 
>             Generation<BR><BR></FONT></DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>Michael,</FONT></DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT size=2>Daniel has a page with several ideas concerning 
>             the automatic creation of Alt text. A couple of the ideas were 
>             discussed in the phone conversation but I haven't seen the minutes 
>             yet. Daniels ideas can be found at:</FONT></DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
>             <DIV><A 
>             href="http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/text-equiv.htm">http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/text-equiv.htm</A></DIV>
>             <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>There has been some discussion about 
>             the generation of automatic Alt text on the <A 
>             href="mailto:w3c-wai-au@w3.org">w3c-wai-au@w3.org</A> 
>             list.</FONT></DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT size=2>The current authoring tool guidelines can be found 
>             at:</FONT></DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT size=2><A 
>             href="http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA/WD-WAI-USERAGENT-19981030/">http://www.w3.org/WAI/UA/WD-WAI-USERAGENT-19981030/</A></FONT></DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>They haven't been updated to include 
>             the suggestions for automatic Alt text generation yet.</FONT></DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT size=2>Hope this helps,</FONT></DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT size=2>Chris</FONT></DIV>
>             <DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
>             <BLOCKQUOTE 
>             style="BORDER-LEFT: #000000 solid 2px; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">
>                 <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2><B>-----Original 
>                 Message-----</B><BR><B>From: </B>Michael Vorburger &lt;<A 
>                 href="mailto:mike@vorburger.ch">mike@vorburger.ch</A>&gt;<BR><B>To: 
>                 </B>Chris Ridpath &lt;<A 
>                 href="mailto:chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca">chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca</A>&gt;<BR><B>Date: 
>                 </B>November 6, 1998 5:22 AM<BR><B>Subject: </B>RE: Automatic 
>                 Alt Text Generation<BR><BR></DIV></FONT>
>                 <DIV><SPAN class=670495209-06111998><FONT color=#0000ff 
>                 face=Arial size=2>Hello Chris</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
>                 <DIV><SPAN class=670495209-06111998><FONT color=#0000ff 
>                 face=Arial size=2></FONT></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
>                 <DIV><SPAN class=670495209-06111998><FONT color=#0000ff 
>                 face=Arial size=2>&nbsp; I was unfortunately not able to 
>                 participate in the conf. call this time. I am very interested in 
>                 the suggestions for Automatic ALT Text generation. Could you 
>                 maybe send them to me by private mail, or point the URL of the 
>                 authoring tool guidelines if already published? I will be happy 
>                 to comment on them.</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
>                 <DIV><SPAN class=670495209-06111998><FONT color=#0000ff 
>                 face=Arial size=2></FONT></SPAN>&nbsp;</DIV>
>                 <DIV><SPAN class=670495209-06111998><FONT color=#0000ff 
>                 face=Arial size=2>Tx,</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
>                 <DIV><SPAN class=670495209-06111998><FONT color=#0000ff 
>                 face=Arial size=2></FONT></SPAN><SPAN 
>                 class=670495209-06111998><FONT color=#0000ff face=Arial 
>                 size=2>Michael</FONT></SPAN></DIV>
>                 <BLOCKQUOTE 
>                 style="BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff solid 2px; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">
>                     <DIV class=OutlookMessageHeader><FONT face="Times New Roman" 
>                     size=2>-----Original Message-----<BR><B>From:</B> 
>                     w3c-wai-er-ig-request@w3.org 
>                     [mailto:w3c-wai-er-ig-request@w3.org]<B>On Behalf Of</B> 
>                     Chris Ridpath<BR><B>Sent:</B> Thursday, November 05, 1998 
>                     9:58 PM<BR><B>To:</B> w3c-wai-er-ig<BR><B>Subject:</B> 
>                     Automatic Alt Text Generation<BR><BR></FONT></DIV>
>                     <DIV>
>                     <DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>
>                     <DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>I've made a couple of 
>                     suggestions for inclusion in the authoring tool guidelines 
>                     as we discussed in the recent conference call. Please let me 
>                     know if you have any comments.</DIV>
>                     <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
>                     <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV></FONT></DIV></DIV></BLOCKQUOTE></BLOCKQUOTE></BLOCKQUOTE></BLOCKQUOTE></BLOCKQUOTE></BODY></HTML>
> <HTML><BR>----<BR></HTML>Michael Vorburger <mike@vorburger.ch> & <michael.vorburger@epfl.ch>
<BR>WEBMASTERS & FrontPage users, check out my cool webtool at:
<BR>http://www.vorburger.ch/kissfp
Received on Monday, 16 November 1998 18:40:58 UTC

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