W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > April to June 2002

RE: JAWS and name attribute for IMG

From: Jim Thatcher <thatch@attglobal.net>
Date: Thu, 02 May 2002 13:28:00 -0500
To: "'WCAG (E-mail)'" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-id: <NDBBKJDAKKEJDCICIODLCECLEEAA.thatch@attglobal.net>
Which browser is not too relevant for JAWS since the they just use the
browser to get at the HTML which they then parse themselves. So they do know
the difference between alt=quote quote and no alt attribute. When I
discussed the situation that John found, the speaking of the name attribute
on images with alt="", with a developer at Freedom Scientific, his response
was that that was done because authors put alt="" on meaningful images. I
argue that we must support the authors statement that an image carries no
information  - i.e., we must support alt="". In a subsequent update for JAWS
I was told they will honor alt="" on images  which are NOT links; but
continue the process of searching from something to speak (title, name,
etc.) when images are links, which, of course, should not have alt="".

Accessibility Consulting
Constructing Accessible Web Sites, is now available at Amazon:
I recommend it. It's a good book!

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Chris O'Kennon
Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 11:08 AM
To: 'john_slatin'; Chris O'Kennon; 'Jim Ley'; 'WCAG (E-mail)'
Subject: RE: JAWS and name attribute for IMG

Most of our developers here use Dreamweaver, which sometimes had problems
with null ALT tags (they fixed it with Dreamweaver MX).  I guess we may be
trying to overcompensate for bad design, which often occurs on the
government level.  So many designers just leave off the ALT tags or - even
worse - leave off SOME ALT tags or leave some null that need defining, that
we wanted to make sure people knew when an image was important or not.  A
vision-impaired user will know that the image read as "pound sign" is
nothing important and not have to worry if an image not read was not read
because it was a transparent gif, or not read because someone forgot an ALT
tag that should have said, " ALT = "Clicking on this button will kill a

Is it possible to set JAWS to ignore images ALT tagged with a certain
character in the way it ignores null ALT tags?  Or, as may be the case, am I
wasting effort in trying to get around bad design with annoying design?

Chris O'Kennon
Commonwealth of Virginia Webmaster/
VIPNet Portal Architect

"This had better work."
	-Grand Moff Tarkin

> -----Original Message-----
> From: john_slatin [mailto:john_slatin@forum.utexas.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 11:35 AM
> To: 'Chris O'Kennon'; 'Jim Ley'; john_slatin; 'WCAG (E-mail)'
> Subject: RE: JAWS and name attribute for IMG
> Jim, thanks for pointing out that I forgot to mention which
> browser I was
> using.
> I was using IE 5.5 with JAWS 4.01 under Win98.  The same
> behavior occurred
> with IE 6.0 and JAWS 4.02 under WinXP.
> I can think of several reasons why it's *not* appropriate for
> JAWS to report
> the name attribute on IMG elements.
> Valid HTML specifically mandates that the ALT attribute be
> present for *all*
> IMG elements.  Good practice also requires that ALT be set to
> null (ALT="")
> for such things as spacer Gis and other images that do not
> carry content,
> especially when those images are repeated and/or when
> encountering them
> would distract or confuse someone using a screen reader,
> talking browser,
> refreshable Braille, or text-only display.
> If developers then use the name attribute for internal
> management (e.g., to
> keep track of which images go with which Javascript calls, as
> was the case
> on the page where I first encountered this), and if AT then
> *speaks* (or
> otherwise renders) the content of the name attribute which
> users were not
> intended to hear or encounter, the required technique of
> setting ALT="" is
> defeated, and *no one* benefits from the defeat!
> Chris, in response to your question about the way the ALT
> attribute is used
> on the Virginia site, I'd say "no"-- an ALT text that's merely an
> identification number doesn't convey any meaning to the user, and the
> purpose of the ALT attribute is to provide a text *equivalent* for the
> functionality of the image.  If the function of the image is
> to create blank
> space for layout (for example), then the equivalent
> functionality for speech
> output is sielcne.
> How or whether users who are blind/have low vision hear about
> images that
> have no ALT text depends on how they configure their screen
> readers, at
> least for JAWS: if I tell JAWS to report "Only tagged
> graphics," it will
> ignore images without ALT attributes in exactly the same way
> that it will
> ignore images with ALT="".  That is, in both cases it will
> act as though
> there is no image present.  "Only tagged images" is the
> default setting;
> therefore, if there *is* ALT text there, JAWS will report it
> whether it's
> meaningful or not.  It should either be meaningful or be
> empty00 that is,
> silent.
> Sorry that was so long!
> John
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chris O'Kennon [mailto:chris@vipnet.org]
> Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 8:16 am
> To: 'Jim Ley'; john_slatin; WCAG (E-mail)
> Subject: RE: JAWS and name attribute for IMG
> This brings up a discussion I recently had at a conference in
> New Orleans.
> We had a visually impaired presenter tell us that she prefers
> that images
> used solely for layout and convey no information be
> identified with ALT="".
> I maintain the Commonwealth of Virginia portal, and we use
> ALT="#" (with the
> first image identifying what the # stands for).  The reason
> we do this is
> because there didn't seem to be any way for a blind user to tell the
> difference between an image with an empty ALT tag and an image someone
> FORGOT to ALT tag.  Has there been any discussion (and I
> apologize if there
> has been, as I'm a newbie here) on how to best address this?
> Does the NAME
> attribute work on all browsers?
> Chris O'Kennon
> Commonwealth of Virginia Webmaster/
> VIPNet Portal Architect
> www.myvirginia.org
> ******************************************
> "This had better work."
> 	-Grand Moff Tarkin
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Jim Ley [mailto:jim@jibbering.com]
> > Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 8:19 AM
> > To: john_slatin; WCAG (E-mail)
> > Subject: Re: JAWS and name attribute for IMG
> >
> >
> > "john_slatin" <john_slatin@forum.utexas.edu>
> > > I just discovered something surprising (at least to me):
> > >
> > > For IMG elements, JAWS 4.01 reports the *name* attribute when
> > > ALT="" and there is no TITLE attribute.
> >
> > I think this would make a lot of sense in the case where
> > there was no ALT
> > attribute at all. You don't say which browser you're using
> > with JAWS but
> > it's possible that the browser doesn't expose the difference between
> > ALT="" and no ALT in the DOM, in which case it would still
> > need to do the
> > repair activity.
> >
> > Jim.
> >
Received on Thursday, 2 May 2002 14:28:35 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:33:41 UTC