W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org > April 1999

RE: bobby: need to check for alt=""

From: Wayne Myers-Education <wayne.myers@bbc.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 14:11:05 +0100
Message-Id: <41ED4776F432D211ACBD0000F8EF7D7A01287B63@w12wcedxu01.wc.bbc.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org
In the real world I strongly believe that it is not always possible to make
ALT="" illegal inside a link, and I don't think there's an intrinsic problem
when links on images that have ALT="" become invisible, *provided* that
there is an alternative text link on the page to the same place. After all,
surely the point is not that the exact same link should be used, but rather
that the website should still be navigable, and if an accessibility aware
designer wants to have it both ways, by putting their image-based links in
one place and some text based links elsewhere on the same page, then let
them.

Some of the coders here at the BBC, who have to balance the fact that I will
harangue them for producing something inaccessible on the one hand, but
someone else will harangue them if the page doesn't look suitably
over-designed on the other - a situation that I don't believe to be unique
in real-world HTML - actually do deliberately put ALT="" in their image
links, and use a bunch of invisible pixels with ALT="Suitable text for the
same link" elsewhere on the same page, with a view to ensuring that the
text-only version of the page is as useful as possible rather than having to
rely on the happenstance of where the image based links ended up after being
passed through Lynx, Betsie, or whatever. This may not be pretty in
theoretical terms, but it means that the page is accessible to all, and
surely that is the priority.

In terms of Bobby, then, surely ALT="" in an image link should only generate
an error if that is the only instance of that link. If there is another link
to the same place, without ALT="", then there is no need to generate an
error, since there is no error. IMHO.

Wayne Myers
Interactive Software Engineer
BBC Digital Media
http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/
0181-752-6116

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Leonard R. Kasday [mailto:kasday@acm.org]
> Sent: 29 April 1999 20:25
> To: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org
> Subject: bobby: need to check for alt=""
> 
> 
> This is email Bruce sent last year.  I just tried out the 
> test page with
> bobby 3.1 and the test page still gets a bobby approved when 
> in actuality
> the links, which are images with alt="", are invisible.
> 
> Len
> 
> ---------------------
> >Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 17:07:02 -0500
> >From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
> >Organization: Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services
> >To: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org
> >Subject: Re: heuristic tests not in guidelines
> 
> >There are probably a lot of suggestions folks could make for 
> improving
> >Bobby.  My recommendation is that ALT="" should be illegal inside <A
> >HREF...
> >
> >Please check out:
> >http://www.dors.state.md.us/test.html
> >
> >A totally inaccessible (but simple) page that flys through 
> the W3C and
> >Bobby validators with no problems.  Even the verbose "Accessibility
> >Recommendations" and "Accessibility Questions" and 
> "Accessibility Tips"
> >don't address what is the real problem with this page.
> >
> >Please note that I haven't touched this page in a while.  
> The LONGDESC
> >is implemented incorrectly (not that the W3C validator complains).
> >
> >Have other people designed pages to illustrate Bobby's short 
> comings? 
> >The "Known Bugs" of the Bobby FAQ
> >(http://www.cast.org/bobby/bobbyfaq.html#sec4) is still blank...
> >
> >Bruce Bailey
> 
> -------
> Leonard R. Kasday, Ph.D.
> Universal Design Engineer, Institute on Disabilities/UAP, and
> Adjunct Professor, Electrical Engineering
> Temple University
> 
> Ritter Hall Annex, Room 423, Philadelphia, PA 19122
> kasday@acm.org        
> (215} 204-2247 (voice)
> (800) 750-7428 (TTY)
> 
Received on Friday, 30 April 1999 09:13:08 UTC

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