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RE: [check 7] ALT text can't be empty (null or all spaces) if ima ge is used as an anchor

From: Michael Cooper <michaelc@watchfire.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2004 17:03:21 -0500
Message-ID: <D9ABD8212AFB094C855045AD80FB40DD033FB6B9@1wfmail.watchfire.com>
To: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org

I think you've got your finger on a problem with the techniques and
guidelines. The HTML techniques provide a few techniques designed to prevent
null link text, but none of them say in so many words that's the objective.
I think we decided to move some of that to the Gateway techniques, which
would describe the general case of hyperlinks independent of technology. But
that isn't in the current draft of the Gateway either. Also, when we mapped
HTML techniques to WCAG 2.0 I think link text was one of the holes, where it
didn't seem the guidelines spoke clearly enough about.

My personal perspective is that hyperlinks should never have null link text.
How you achieve the link text, from text or image alt text inside the link,
doesn't matter, but it needs to be present. There should be a guideline that
says so in so many words (along with forbidding meaningless link text). The
Gateway techniques would probably expound on that, and the HTML techniques
would cover the cases Chris has been describing - various combinations of
images (with and without alt text) and text inside links.

Michael

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chris Ridpath [mailto:chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca]
> Sent: Monday, March 29, 2004 2:55 PM
> To: Shane Anderson
> Cc: w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Re: [check 7] ALT text can't be empty (null or all spaces) if
> image is used as an anchor
> 
> 
> 
> This check was in response to the WCAG 2 HTML technique 9.2 "Use text
> equivalents for images which are used as links." [1]
> 
> The technique deals with images and (I think) is meant to 
> solve the problem
> that occurs when the author uses an image alone (no text) as 
> the anchor. If
> you can't see the image then you won't have any information 
> about the link
> destination.
> 
> > Why is an empty anchor tag considered an error?
> >
> The WCAG 2 HTML techs currently don't say anything about link 
> text. The WCAG
> 1 requirement for not using meaningless link text (e.g. 
> "click here") is
> missing in the WCAG 2. So it appears that empty link text 
> would be OK!?
> 
> Michael - Can you remind us what's happening the technique 
> for link text?
> 
> [1] http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/WD-WCAG20-HTML-TECHS/#imagelink
> 
> Chris
> 
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Shane Anderson" <Shane@cpd2.usu.edu>
> To: <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>
> Cc: <w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org>; <andrew_kirkpatrick@wgbh.org>
> Sent: Monday, March 29, 2004 12:32 PM
> Subject: Re: [check 7] ALT text can't be empty (null or all 
> spaces) if image
> is used as an anchor
> 
> 
> > hi all,
> >
> > I have a few questions about the anchor tag that arose from 
> reading Chris'
> post.
> >
> > Why is an empty anchor tag considered an error? Is it because it is
> syntactically incorrect, or is it because some user agents do 
> not use them
> correctly?
> >
> > Please include authoritative documentation in answering 
> these questions,
> if possible.
> >
> > Thanks
> >
> > Shane Anderson
> > Programmer Analyst
> > Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM.org)
> 
> 
Received on Monday, 29 March 2004 17:02:18 GMT

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