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RE: ALT text survey

From: Charles (Chuck) Oppermann <chuckop@MICROSOFT.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 15:57:43 -0800
Message-ID: <E3A3FFB80F5CD1119CED00805FBECA2F013BBDDA@red-msg-55.dns.microsoft.com>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
<<So what _are_ you saying?>>

Exactly what I said - No guidelines should recommend to authors that they
specify minimum HEIGHT and WIDTH attributes.

The original thread was that the AT&T guidelines say that images should not
be so small as such that ALT text is not shown.  Here is what the AT&T
guidelines say:

"Try to make images at least 24 pixels high; otherwise a bug in Netscape
Navigator on some platforms may cause the ALT text to be ignored. For
example, the ALT text for the following image is not visible in some
versions of Netscape because the image is only 20 pixels high."

It's my opinion that this kind of guideline, that works around a bug in a
browser, would be detrimental and worse - laughed at.  Who are we to tell
people they can't have small images?  Excessive guidelines devalue the
really important ones.  The home page alone http://www-the-net-effect.com
would be in violation of this guideline 9 times.

<<please explain to me how it is that MSIE 3.02 on Windows 95 is
non-compliant with the specs in respect of the display of ALT as tooltips?
(ie - ALT should NOT be displayed as tooltips, as confirmed by Foteos
Macrides). Ref: <URL:http://www.the-net-effect.com/bad-tooltips.html>>>

Huh?  Since when does http://www.the-net-effect.com represent a standards
board?  What spec are you referring to?  Point me to something that starts
with http://www.w3.org first.

When I designed the ToolTips feature for IE back in 1995, there was no spec
to be compliant with and everyone agreed that it was a good idea.  In fact,
I think it has raised awareness of the existence of ALT unlike any guideline
ever could.  Same is true for TITLE.  Theory is great, but implementation is
better.  

I agree that some people misuse ALT because of ToolTips, but those same
people would not have had any ALT text if it wasn't for the ToolTip feature.
The benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

<<can you tell me in which release of Internet Explorer Microsoft intends to
correct the incorrect rendering of ALT?>>

Incorrect as opposed to what?  First tell me what you think "correct" would
be.

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: Colin F Reynolds [mailto:colin@the-net-effect.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 1998 1:53 PM
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: Re: ALT text survey


In article <E3A3FFB80F5CD1119CED00805FBECA2F013BBDC6@red-msg-
55.dns.microsoft.com>, Charles (Chuck) Oppermann <chuckop@MICROSOFT.com>
writes
>In a informal survey of various sites, I found all of them used HEIGHT and
>WIDTH.  People and authoring tools put them in, so that the page is
>formatted correctly before the image is loaded.

... but earlier, you said

>>No guidelines should recommend to authors that they specify minimum
HEIGHT=
>>and WIDTH= attributes,

So what _are_ you saying?

>Even the primarily text based http://www.yahoo.com uses them.  So while you
>might not think that HTML isn't a page layout language, it's certainly
being
>used as one.  

You'll have to give me notice on that, I can't sort out the double-
negatives. If you're claiming that since there are a lot of people using
a badly-made hammer to remove screws, then we should continue
development of the hammer, I have to disagree with you.

>Obviously, the guidelines must reflect the real world of HTML development.

Oh, dear. You've invoked the Reel Wurld. I guess all sensible discussion
is over then. :(

>Concerning your comment about competition-bashing.  That wasn't my intent.
>However, we will take credit for the accessibility features that have been
>present in Internet Explorer for awhile now.

Well then, if you speak for MICROSOFT.com (your caps), then please
explain to me how it is that MSIE 3.02 on Windows 95 is non-compliant
with the specs in respect of the display of ALT as tooltips? (ie - ALT
should NOT be displayed as tooltips, as confirmed by Foteos Macrides).

Ref: <URL:http://www.the-net-effect.com/bad-tooltips.html>

In "the real world", yours as well as mine, there are a lot of people
still using this browser.

The point is, the more versions of a browser which are released
(whichever the manufacturer) which exhibit incorrect behaviour, the more
and more difficult it becomes for web authors to markup the content
sensibly.

>  That is the goal of these
>groups isn't it?  To affect the development of Internet products to make
>them more accessible?

Yes, hopefully.

So, in that spirit, can you tell me in which release of Internet
Explorer Microsoft intends to correct the incorrect rendering of ALT? So
that I may return to "the real world" and continue to author web pages
without worrying that at some point in the future someone is going to
change the behaviour yet again for no apparent reason?

If my tone makes it seem as though I'm annoyed, it's because I am.

Regards
-- 
Colin Reynolds, The Net Effect (World Wide) Ltd
http://www.the-net-effect.com/
Tel: +44 (0)1246 450 901
Fax: +44 (0)1246 450 902
Received on Wednesday, 11 February 1998 18:59:48 GMT

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