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From: Daniel Dardailler <danield@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 11:07:50 +0100
Message-Id: <199901271007.LAA09363@www47.inria.fr>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

I've been hearing thru many different channels recently that we should
promote more strongly the use of ALT="" for images that do not carry
any specific function, that is, most of the time except when the image
in question is contributing to the content of the page in a
structurally meaningful fashion (e.g. link, text in graphics)

Reading the most recent guideline, it's hard to say if this is even

  A.1 Provide alternative text for all images..

would call for mandatory descriptive ALT in those cases, but then in
the following rationales section

 Alternative text does not describe the visual appearance of an image,
 applet, or image map. Rather, it is used to represent the function
 that the image, applet, or image map performs whether it be
 decorative, informative, or for purposes of layout.

which can be read: null alt text is OK for null function.
(the technique for spacer tends to prove it is indeed OK, but is very

In any case, possible or not, we are not promoting this practice,
which seems to be what most blind users I talk to want.

I suggest we add a sentense right after the A.1 text I copied above,
which would read:

  For such images that do not carry any specific function, and do not
  contribute to the content of the page in a structurally meaningful
  fashion, use ALT="".

and in the techniques, right before the long description example, we
give a couple of example of ALT="", such as:

  <H1>Welcome to the Red Car lover page</H1> 
  <IMG SRC="redcar.gif" ALT="">
  <P>Do you own a Ferrari ?, me too ....
Received on Wednesday, 27 January 1999 05:07:54 UTC

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