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RE: Issue #1305

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2004 15:23:50 -0600
Message-ID: <6EED8F7006A883459D4818686BCE3B3B29066E@MAIL01.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "Chris Ridpath" <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>, "Joe Clark" <joeclark@joeclark.org>, "WAI-GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Chris Ridpath wrote:
So use the anchor's title attribute to describe the link destination.
Keep the alt text as a replacement for the image. This seems to follow
the spec more closely.


<a href="home.html" title="go to home page"><img src="house.png"
alt="drawing of a house"/></a>

Is there a user agent problem with this?
There *is* a user agent problem with the example Chris gives above-- at
least for current-generation screen readers.  Current screen readers
speak *either* the alt attribute *or* the title attribute; as yet there
is no option to have the screen reader speak both. The default setting
is to speak the alt attribute. So the screen reader user who encountered
the example above would hear something like "Link graphic  drawing of a
house" or (for Home Page Reader) "Drawing of a house" in a differen
voice signalling the presence of a link.

Also, I would argue strongly against using a phrase lke "Go to the" at
the beginning of what a user might hear as link .  Links lists like
those provided by JAWS and Home Page Reader, and by at least some
Firefox extensions, allow users to move through the list by pressing the
initial letter of the link text.  Thus if I go to a library Web site and
hope to learn the hourstext when they're open, I would bring up the
links list and press "h" (especially if I happened to know the page well
enough to know that such a link was there).  This is a rough
approximation of point and click.  If all the links in the list begin
with the same letter (Go to x), then people using links lists will have
to scroll through all the links to find the one they want.  (If the
screen reader is set to speak the title attribute, that's the text that
would show up in the links list.)

The href attribute "describes" the link destination by providing the
URI.  If the graphic showing a picture of a house is used as a link to
the home page, the alt text should serve the same purpose as the image
(Guideline 1.1 L1 SC1) and the alt text should say "Home."  ("Go to the
home page" is also acceptable by this criterion, but I'd like to
discourage such wording.)


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Joe Clark" <joeclark@joeclark.org>
To: "WAI-GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2004 1:21 PM
Subject: RE: Issue #1305

> > Test 15 - ALT text for images used as links must describe the link 
> > destination
> No, it must not. Alt text replaces the image; <a> describes the 
> destination, as with title="". Quit trying to rewrite the spec.
> <http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/struct/objects.html#adef-alt>
> <http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/struct/links.html#adef-href>,
> additionally, states that the href attribute "specifies the location 
> of a Web resource, thus defining a link between the current element 
> (the source
> anchor) and the destination anchor defined by this attribute."
> What defines the destination is <a>, not <img>. By spec. It's 
> cut-and-dried; the Working Group's attempts are incorrect and must be 
> removed.
> If I'm not mistaken, I got this wrong in my book. Let's not keep 
> getting it wrong.
> --
>      Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
>      Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
>      Expect criticism if you top-post
Received on Tuesday, 14 December 2004 21:23:59 UTC

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