W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > January to March 1998

RE: ALT text survey

From: Charles (Chuck) Oppermann <chuckop@MICROSOFT.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 12:53:59 -0800
Message-ID: <E3A3FFB80F5CD1119CED00805FBECA2F013BBDD1@red-msg-55.dns.microsoft.com>
To: "'Kasday, Leonard R (Len), ALTEC'" <kasday@att.com>, "'w3c-wai-gl@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
<<MSIE with AA has done an admirable job overcoming this glitch.>>

Actually, the ability of expand the image box to include all the ALT text is
not related to Active Accessibility.  In addition, IE3 includes Active

With IE3 and IE4, the bounding box of a image is expanded to include all the
ALT text when "Show Images" is turned off and when the ScreenReaderPresent
flag is turned on by a screen reader.

With IE4.01, in addition to the conditions above, the feature can be
manually turned on from the "Always expand ALT text for images" option in
the Advanced tab of the Internet options dialog.

Of course, with Active Accessibility, it doesn't matter whether or not the
image is shown.  The TITLE, SRC and ALT information is always available.

<<It's not true that this must radically affect page layout.>>

It does affect page layout, regardless of borders, etc.  HEIGHT and WIDTH
determine how much space is allocated for the image before it's downloaded.
If it's not specified, then the text that flows around it will be
reformatted after the image is displayed.  This can cause unsightly flashing
of the screen when there are a lot of images being downloaded and displayed.

This is why the authoring tools put in the images HEIGHT/WIDTH when the page
is created to help minimize that flashing.

Charles Oppermann
Program Manager, Active Accessibility, Microsoft Corporation
mailto:chuckop@microsoft.com http://microsoft.com/enable/
"A computer on every desk and in every home, usable by everyone!" 

-----Original Message-----
From: Kasday, Leonard R (Len), ALTEC [mailto:kasday@att.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 1998 11:12 AM
To: 'w3c-wai-gl@w3.org'
Subject: RE: ALT text survey

>> The fact that Netscape Navigator doesn't display the ALT text when a
>> HEIGHT and WIDTH are too small is a limitation of Navigator.  Text
>> and Internet Explorer (and it's derivatives) do not have this limitation.

MSIE with AA has done an admirable job overcoming this glitch.  Plus,
browsers like lynx never had it.  However, I believe that when you run
Explorer version 3.02 without AA it has this limitation (albeit it goes
to smaller heights).  Thats what people with this older version, and
people who simply have images off, run.  

Furthermore, just as web sites seek to accommodate sighted people who
don't have the optimal and latest software, we should do the same for
people who rely on screen readers.  And whether or not we "should" do
this from a moral or legal point of view,  it's just plain good business
sense for a site to make it's customers happy, and maximize their use of
the site even for people who don't always have the latest stuff.

>> No guidelines should recommend to authors that they specify minimum
>> and WIDTH= attributes, since the radically affects page layout.


It's not true that this must radically affect page layout.  

Typically this glitch occurs for things like horizontal lines for which
aesthetically there's a few pixels above and below anyway.  Adding a
transparent border gets around glitch with no affect at all on

Where it is sometimes a problem is the width requirement.  If you use
this for a bullet with no space in front or behind it's a problem.  If
the bullet is indented you can add transparent border on left, which
actually simplifies the HTML since it eliminates the need for a spacer

Since it can at times be a problem, not mandatory, it's just suggested,
in the AT&T ALT text guidelines.


All opinions expressed here are my own, not necessarily those of my
kasday@att.com         phone 732 949 2693

Leonard R. Kasday
Room 1J-316A
AT&T Laboratories
101 Crawfords Corner Rd.
Holmdel NJ 07733
Received on Wednesday, 11 February 1998 15:54:27 UTC

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