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Re: "tool tip" - alternate use of ALT

From: Daniel Dardailler <danield@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 1997 13:21:29 +0200
Message-Id: <199710211121.NAA21629@www47.inria.fr>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org


Let me try to summarize what I understand.

ALT text on IMG is being used by most GUI browser as source to display
balloon-help/tool-tip text.

Therefore, content providers, knowing that, tend to adapt their ALT
text to this use, and not to the "alternate textual description" usage
for which it was designed.

Examples:
  - if the IMG represents a button displaying some fancy text (say
    W3C logo), it is likely that the content designer will not put any
    ALT text ("W3C") since that would make its GUI looks
    dumb/redundant when the mouse is passed over the logo
  - some page designer just drop the alt semantics altogether and
    chose to use the balloon function to display some short ads
    ala "Buy the new Ford Escort!", over an IMG that has nothing to do
    with Ford or buying.

My personal take:

I don't think there is much we can do about the short-ads case, this
is just feature abuse.

For the redundant case, I think we have enough buckets with TITLE,
ALT, and onmouseover attributes on IMG, and the markup/browser/tool
guidelines can clarify how to use them to achieve the best coverage
(e.g. if ALT is left empty because of fear of balloon redundancy, then
TITLE should be used to convey textual short description, and
onmouseover takes precedence over non scripting method).

I don't think adding a TOOL-TIP attributes will help in the long run,
since I think they're too close to each other, and content providers
will either use it or use ALT, but not both, and in the end, it
will become a replacement for ALT, under a new name.
Received on Tuesday, 21 October 1997 07:21:49 GMT

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