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RE: alternative content for cognitive disabilities

From: Alan J. Flavell <flavell@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2001 18:10:30 +0100 (BST)
To: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
cc: WAI Guidelines List <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.4.21-pb.0104211755210.15240-100000@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
On Fri, 20 Apr 2001, Anne Pemberton wrote:

> 	Alt tags are very usable to visual users if they so choose ... Alt tags
> let you know what is loading so you can decide to wait or move on ...


I would argue that Alt attributes are supposed to be for supplying a
properly functional textual replacement or substitute, for whatever
purpose the images were serving.  This is for use when the image is
not (for whatever reason) being displayed.

While it's true that it could be appropriate to display them until
images have been loaded, this isn't the only situation for which
they're useful; I would have to argue that they're significantly more
important for the situations where the images aren't going to be
displayed at all - either because the reader can't see them or because
the browser is a text-mode browser - and that the choice of an
appropriate text should be focussed on such a need.

The Title attribute is more apt to be used for a brief description of
the actual images.  This too can be of interest in the situations just
mentioned; but it might be interesting to discuss how to make this
attribute available to a reader while they are waiting for the image
to load.  Just exactly how to make the two texts available is a matter
for client agent design.  While I wouldn't disagree that document
authors have needed to make compromises in the past by reference to
the actual behaviour of available client implementations, I think
we're entitled to set reasonable guidelines on the ground, and ask
content authors and client agent developers to play their respective
parts in the evolving "deal".

with all best regards
Received on Saturday, 21 April 2001 13:10:41 UTC

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