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Re: Redundant alt text??

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 19:53:24 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199811120053.TAA01231@access2.digex.net>
To: g.gay@utoronto.ca (Greg Gay)
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
to follow up on what Greg Gay said:

> I'm interested to know what the purpose of including alternative text
> links in conjunction with alt text for map areas is. When using a screen
> reader, such redundancy results in listening to the links twice. The
> same aplies for linked images.  Would it not be preferable to eliminate
> map area alt text for a single map alt text pointing the user to a set
> of text links below. For example, alt="This is a navigation map: see
> text links below". And, eliminate alt text for linked images in favour
> of text links below. Listening to alt text and then alternative text
> links causes confusion.
> Should it not be one or the other? Preferable text links

Yes, you are hitting on a point where web content, prepared
according to these guidelines, is still not ideal.  But it still
needs to be as the guidelines say to work within the limitations
of HTML.

One problem is that ALT text mentioning that there are text links
at the foot of the page is just text, and there is no easy way
for the screen reader user to find the head of that list of
links.  This is related to the reasoning that says OBJECT is a
superior language capability; but OBJECT is snarled in
implementation inconsistencies from which it may never recover.

If ALT only allowed a fully-formed hyperlink, with both text
content and jump destination, you could reasonably offer
navigation to the text links as an alternative to the image map.
But it ain't like that.  So please document your MAP AREAs.

Try putting together an example with AREA=DEFAULT linking to the
text-nav panel.  That might be worth a look.

For the "image links" sub-case, the text links at the foot of the
page lacks the contextual relevance that makes hypertext great.
The image links appear somewhere in the flow of the page.  Where
they appear in the page is part of what cues the reader as to why
the reader might want to jump there.  That is why it is important
to capture the jump option in text at the point where it arises
in the flow, and not merely provide _some jump opportunity to the
same destination_ somewhere else.


-- all quote below

> "http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/wai-gl-techniques-19980918.html
> Technique A.1.3.2
> In addition to providing alt-text, provide redundant textual links. If
> the A element is used instead of AREA, the author may describe the
> active regions and provide redundant links at the same time:"
> Greg Gay
> Adaptive Technology Resource Centre
> University of Toronto
Received on Wednesday, 11 November 1998 19:52:46 UTC

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