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RE: alt title and links

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 08:50:13 -0700
Message-Id: <a0510030ab7a6e1062151@[]>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <chas@munat.com>, "WAI Guidelines WG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
At 3:13 AM -0700 2001/8/20, Charles F. Munat wrote:
>What about:
><a href="search.html"><img
>     src="magnifyingglass.gif"
>     alt="Search (Note: icon is a magnifying glass)"
>     ></a>
>To me, this seems to include the benefits of both. First, it identifies the
>purpose of the control: to bring up the search page. Second, it describes
>the visual clue that identifies that function: an icon of a magnifying
>The benefit, as I see it, is that now the VI user knows both, so she can get
>to the search page, but she can also write an email to her non-VI friend and
>say "just click on the magnifying glass icon to go to the search page."

The problem here is that it perpetrates a usability problem by allowing
the author to get away with just an inexplicable magnifying glass on the
site instead of something saying "Search."

Let's not -- in our rush to gain greater comprehension -- assume that
graphics are ALWAYS going to be easier to understand than text.  You can
have at least as many comprehension difficulties with poorly chosen icons
as you can with textual content.

In the above example I would instead suggest:

<a href="search.html">
   <img src="magnifyingglass.gif" alt="Search magnifying glass">

See the problem with the original example was that the text was only
hidden in the ALT text.  Putting the word "Search" as inline text
gives a number of accessibility benefits for many audiences.


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
Technical Developer Liaison
Reef North America
Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
Tel +1 949-567-7006
Received on Monday, 20 August 2001 11:58:40 UTC

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