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From: Liam Quinn <liam@htmlhelp.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 18:22:03 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
At 11:53 AM 14/04/98 -0500, Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:
>The discussions on the topic of ALT vs. Alternate Content have been
>very interesting and are leading us to think that maybe we should say
>in the guidelines that:
>1) use of Alternate Content is the preferred way to make applets
>accessible when not viewed.


>2) for the sake of some old browsers, it is recommended that ALT text
>ALSO be provided (in addition to but not instead of Alternate Content)

What do you have in mind here?  Old browsers, which I take to mean browsers
that don't support APPLET, won't do anything with the ALT text.  They will,
however, render the content of APPLET.

>We are also interested in anyone who has any experience with how
>different browsers handle and APPLET with both ALT text and Alternate
>Content.    We tried a Java Applet element on Netscape 3.02 with Java
>Applets turned off and found that it displayed the alternate content
>but not the ALT text.

MSIE 4.01, NCSA Mosaic 3.0, UdiWWW 1.2, and Amaya 1.2 all showed the
content of the APPLET but not the ALT text.  HotJava 1.1 showed the ALT
text but not the APPLET content.  (Isn't Sun to blame for adding the ALT
attribute? <g>)  Lynx 2.8 showed both.  (All tests on Win95.)

Aside:  One of my pet peeves about IE4 is that, when Java is disabled, IE
will throw up a modal dialog box on any page containing a Java applet, with
the following text:  "An ActiveX control on this page is not safe.  Your
current security settings prohibit running unsafe controls on this page.
As a result, this page may not display as intended."  Even if the dialog
correctly labelled the object as a Java applet, I still wouldn't like it.
APPLET and OBJECT both allow for graceful degradation with full alternate
content, but IE4 removes the gracefulness with its dialog box.

>How do you turn Applets off in IE 4.01?

Select "Custom" for Security and select the "Disable Java" option in the

>Therefore,  we are thinking that perhaps we should  REQUIRE using
>content of APPLET no matter what (whether functional or

Are you suggesting that the content should never be empty?  If a Java
applet is pure decoration, is there a point in telling the user that
there's a decoration they can't enjoy?

>and RECOMMEND using "alt."

Why?  Browsers seem to do fine with just the content.  A good TITLE would
be helpful, but if we can throw away the ALT attribute we have the advice
for APPLET and OBJECT exactly the same.  Consistency and simplicity are good.

Liam Quinn
Web Design Group            Enhanced Designs, Web Site Development
http://www.htmlhelp.com/    http://enhanced-designs.com/
Received on Tuesday, 14 April 1998 18:22:37 UTC

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