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RE: Okay, is this better?

From: Liam Quinn <liam@htmlhelp.com>
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 17:51:46 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: Gregg Vanderheiden <GV@TraceCenter.org>, "w3c-wai-gl@w3.org" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Original message:
>>alt text would work well for all three audiences: maybe something like
>><img alt="purple line________________________________"> and
>><img alt="zig-zag line /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\"> would
>>work well.

I wrote:
>I would use
><IMG ALT="-------------------------" TITLE="Purple line">
>ALT as replacement text, TITLE as an image title:  If we treat these
>attributes this way, we get simplicity and consistency.

Gregg responded:
>I would suggest that it should reflect the function of the line rather
than the appearance as in
><IMG  ALT= "Section Divider Line"

The inclusion of "Line" in that ALT text seems to be reflective of the
appearance to me.  ALT="Section Divider" describes the function of the
image, but I believe that ALT text is better used as a *replacement* for
the image, which usually means that it *provides* the image function rather
than describing the function.  The distinction between providing the image
function and describing the function can be subtle, but I think it's
important in the quest for seamless accessibility and device independence.

My decision to use ALT="-------------------------" is not based on the
appearance of the image at all.  Rather, I'm giving this ALT text as a
replacement for the image, providing its function--rendered appropriately
as a dividing line on text-only browsers and a pause on most speech
browsers.  (I'm told that some screen readers will say
"hyphen-hyphen-hyphen-etc." when encountering such ALT text.  My response
to this is that these devices are misconfigured.  Would they also say
"hyphen-hyphen" when reading a sentence like this--with a dash?)

If a speech browser's pause is not a sufficient cue for a section change (I
believe it would be, but hopefully those more experienced with speech
browsers will chime in), then one could also include "End of Section", or,
perhaps more seamless, "This concludes the section on Widgets."  The
hyphens could still be included as an extra aid to visual, text-only browsers:

<IMG ALT="---------- This concludes the section on Widgets. ----------">

Liam Quinn
Web Design Group            Enhanced Designs, Web Site Development
http://www.htmlhelp.com/    http://enhanced-designs.com/
Received on Friday, 27 March 1998 17:52:10 UTC

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