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RE: Dumb Thought on alt Text (or Smart Thought?)

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 10:49:57 -0500 (EST)
To: <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
cc: WAI GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0202041043490.22103-100000@tux.w3.org>

I generally agree with what you are saying Gian, but as I read Kynn's
proposal he was suggesting a requirement be added that all images have
representation elsewhere in the content, in a text form, to ensure that they
fell into the category you suggest are ornamental because they are redundant.

(my minor reservation is  that I think that an image might be used as a
placeholder, and it may be useful to provide some things twice. I might be
inclined to leave blank alt text, but add a title to an image like "figure 7
- described below" - except that I generally prefer to use a smarter format
than the img element, which means a whoe different approach to the technical
details <grin/>)


(discourteous cc to Kynn - I know he is on the mailing list, but I haven't
said hello to him for a while)

On Mon, 4 Feb 2002 gian@stanleymilford.com.au wrote:


  I think when it comes to alt text we need to be very specific about what
  images require alt tags and what does not (bear with me - this will
  eventually make sense in context of this discussion).

  1. Is the image used for ornamental purposes?

  Ornamental purposes include anything which serves no purpose other than
  to make the site look a certain way, this means from spacers,
  transparent gifs, to footer lines etc. These images should not have alt
  text. I think everyone is clear on that.

  2. If the image is not used for ornamental purposes, is the image used
  to present certain information?

  3. If the image is used to present certain information, is the
  information presented elsewhere?
  This is the point I think Kynn was making. If the image is used to
  present information that is presented elsewhere, then its function as an
  image is purely ornamental, thus see point 1.

  Using the duck analogy, I really think it is an author call. For
  example, let's say the ducks represent a rural atmosphere at Big Hall.
  Whether this image requires an alt tag depends on the content. If the
  content says 'Big Hall is renowned for its rural atmosphere...', then
  the image is representing the text, and thus no alt tag is required. If
  the content says, 'Big Hall is the biggest and brightest hall in the
  entire world...', then the image will be adding more information and
  therefore requires an alt tag.

Received on Monday, 4 February 2002 10:50:00 UTC

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