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

Re: alt tags no with a twist

From: Alan J. Flavell <flavell@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 23:41:53 +0100 (BST)
To: Colin F Reynolds <colin@nospam.demon.co.uk>
cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.3.96.980818233114.32699A-100000@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
On Tue, 18 Aug 1998, Colin F Reynolds wrote:

> I've been through all this before on www-html in the thread to which I
> referred. IMO IMG TAG should *never* be used as a tooltip, since it is
> ALTernative textual content to replace an image which is not available
> to the user agent, whereas tooltips are supplementary information. 
> Provision of the former as the latter in an environment in which the
> original image has already been rendered merely provides confusing
> clutter in the display. 

Yes, I think that part's clear.

Seems to me, though, that there's an extra complication that hasn't
been discussed.  Consider an image used as an anchor link, as they 
often are.  Then we in fact have three items (and their purposes are
more or less as I give them here, I believe):

1. The IMG ALT - provides alternative text for the image

2. The IMG TITLE - provides supplementary information about the image

3. The Anchor TITLE - provides supplementary information about the
target of the anchor link. 

My question would be, how should these items be displayed or
otherwise made available?

There's general agreement that the ALT text must be displayed
_instead_ of the IMG, when the IMG isn't viewed.

MSIE uses item 2 as a tooltip.  However, Opera (at least some
versions) uses item 3 as the tooltip.  I can see logic in both

Should all three be somehow available, and if so, how?

best regards
Received on Tuesday, 18 August 1998 18:41:55 UTC

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