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RE: ALT-attribute usage (fwd)

From: Mike Paciello <paciello@yuri.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 09:18:20 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Chuck Letourneau <cpl@starlingweb.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
I agree with Chuck and MZ on this as well, particularly when we make the
statement that ALT = Functional Description. Let's be clear even in our
examples. Likely technical writers will become more involved in the web
publishing process. As they do, the ALT attribute will parallel publishing
metaphors for table and figure descriptions. They'll be required to
implement short, meaningful and functional descriptions. Let's be sure to
reflect this in the code examples for V4.

- Mike

At 08:37 AM 10/23/97 -0400, Chuck Letourneau wrote:
>We will have only one difficulty in making a guideline for the use of
>ALT-text:  the difficult part will be to make it concise - because both
>Gregg and MZ are correct.  
>I think Gregg's quick example of using ALT="bullet" for a bullet graphic
>was unfortunate, since he has elsewhere used much better examples of
>ALT-text choices.  
>In practice, I have used something like ALT="Item 1", ALT="Item 2", etc. on
>bullets when the lists are fairly short or where I really want the reader
>to notice the distinction.  Then I have used the null ALT when there are
>numerous list items.  When I do the latter, I include an alt-text
>disclaimer stating that images without ALT-text are strictly decorative.  
>And yes, including that statement has annoyed some people who dislike the
>thought that I am deciding what is important for them.  However, having
>used screen-readers myself, and from training screen-reader users to use
>the Web, I agree with MZ that if the choice of ALT-text is not truly
>meaningful or is repeated ad nauseam, then to quote something Dr. Norm
>Coombs said to me recently "It may be accessible, but it isn't useable!"
>MZ wrote
>>No - that is one of the most annoying, worst uses of ALT on the web.
>>bullet product one
>>bullet product two
>>bullet product three
>>You should not use ALT text to describe the image.  Describe the meaning
>>of the image, and if it is decoration, use null text - ALT=""
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Michael G. Paciello                      Executive Director, 
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Received on Thursday, 23 October 1997 09:22:51 UTC

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