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Re: ALT text (re Gregg Vanderheiden)

From: Alan J. Flavell <flavell@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 09:35:27 +0000 (GMT)
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
cc: "'IG - WAI Interest Group List'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "'GL - WAI Guidelines WG'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.3.96.980217092839.23961A-100000@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>

On Tue, 17 Feb 1998, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

> Where decorative graphics are used, an ALT tag can give an idea of what 
> is there. examples would be "pretty blue and pink line", "Picture of me 
> in a red hat and boots", etc.

Oh no, that is in no sense "alternative text to be presented when the
iamge is not being displayed".  It's useless as a substitute for the
function of the image, except in a few special cases.

> TITLE and LONGDESC seem to provide a means for splitting the two 
> functions of ALT which are identified above. 

In a sense, but I wouldn't put it like that.  TITLE and LONGDESC are
two needed functions, that have little or nothing to do with the
function of the ALT attribute.

> Unfortunately, they are not 
> backward compatible,

Oh dear, which way is that?  Old documents that have been properly
marked up can still be viewed on new browsers.  New documents can be
browsed as well as they ever could on old browsers (but presumably
anyone who is using the D-link convention will want to continue to
do it for quite some time yet).

> so ALT text should be used as well, to provide 
> whichever of the functions seems most important in a given case.

"Function" is the right word here.  ALT text needs to replace the
function of the image, just as it always did.  

best regards
Received on Tuesday, 17 February 1998 04:36:03 UTC

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