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RE: ALT text

From: Charles (Chuck) Oppermann <chuckop@MICROSOFT.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 1998 16:24:19 -0800
Message-ID: <E3A3FFB80F5CD1119CED00805FBECA2F013BBD48@red-msg-55.dns.microsoft.com>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
I'd like to call out a specific portion of this issue:

<<Using ALT functionally provides the necessary information for text-only 
browsers, while using it descriptively provides a cruel reminder to the 
text-only user that the Web doesn't like him.
Of course one could argue that text-only browsers have the implementation 
backwards if you agree with Chuck's interpretation of ALT and TITLE.  
Clearly we need to decide which is which.  To me, the words suggest the 
meaning I have described, but I recognize that others interpret this 
differently.  So what about looking at the issue from the point of view of 
existing implementations?  Text-only browsers and search engines use the 
ALT attribute as a replacement for the IMG; I assume speech browsers do 
the same.  Since text-only browsers and speech browsers are the most 
important targets of browser accessibility, perhaps we should yield to 
these existing implementations.>>

ALT and TITLE are pigeon holes for information.  The meaning of these
placeholders should not be distorted because of the way current browsers
present the information.

With advances such as Active Accessibility, Dynamic HTML and the Document
Object Model, it's much more important to make sure the *conduits* for
information (attributes) exist and are not redundant and are very clearly

Just because a certain browser presents the ALT attribute in a certain way
doesn't mean we should distort the meaning of ALT to fit.

It's hard enough to get people to use ALT as is.  If there is even the
slightest doubt as to it's correct usage, it'll be hard to get implemented.
ALT/TITLE/LONGDESC have to be clearly defined.
Received on Thursday, 5 February 1998 19:26:02 UTC

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