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Re: WCAG 2.0 Test Suite

From: Paul Bohman <paulb@cc.usu.edu>
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 2004 12:23:45 -0700
Message-ID: <41AE1A41.3070203@cc.usu.edu>
To: Chris Ridpath <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>
CC: WAI WCAG List <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Chris Ridpath wrote:
> The test suite for the WCAG 2.0 is now available for public viewing at:
> http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/tests/
> Please take a look and post your comments to this list.

I have a concern with regard to one of the alt text criteria: the one 
that requires that images within links have real (not null) alt text. If 
the only thing in the link is an image, then this is a good criterion. 
However, if there is both an image and text in the link, I think it 
could go either way, depending on the context.

For example, some people put an image or icon with text next to it. 
Oftentimes the text is, in essence, alternative text for the image. The 
image might be an icon of an envelope, and the text might be "email", 
for instance. Both would be inside the same set of <a> tags. It wouldn't 
make sense to have a "meaningful" alt attribute for the image, I don't 
think, in this case. It would make more sense to have a null alt attribute.

Now, you could probably come up with some other way of doing things. For 
example, you could use a background image using CSS, rather than a 
standard <img> tag. Or you could put only the text within the <a> tags, 
but this leads to possible usability issues, where the person tries to 
click on the icon, but nothing happens.

In the end, I think we have to account for the possibility of having 
both text and an image in a link, with the image not needing a 
meaningful alt attribute.

Paul Bohman
Director of Products and Services
WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
Utah State University
Received on Wednesday, 1 December 2004 19:24:00 UTC

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