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RE: bullets [was ALT-attribute usage ]

From: Kasday, Leonard <kasday@att.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 08:07:27 -0400
Message-Id: <9710241210.AA00606@hoccson.ho.att.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
	Re  bullets

	>>For example a bullet shaped like an arrow would have alt text
"bullet"   not "yellow arrow pointing right"

	>No - that is one of the most annoying, worst uses of ALT on the

I support "bullet". Here's why.

First, it often helps to put a period after the ALT text.  For example

Bullet.  product one.
Bullet. product two.
Bullet. product three.

sounds better than

bullet product one.
bullet product two.
bullet product three.

If you have punctuation turned off, but your screen reader does a good
job of rendering the closing inflection implied by  a bullet, the first
version, with periods after each "bullet", is  easier  to hear, and
addresses one of the problems of

This use of punctuation is now mandatory for ALT text in the att.com web
site.  See


under "requirements for new pages"  item 2.

As for the word "bullet"

	I did a survey on this earlier this year on webwatch-l and
blind-l.  "bullet" got the highest rating, 6.2 on a 10 point scale where
0 is  very bad, 10 is very good, and 5 is neutral.  This is based on
only 8 or 9 responses per item, so it is not statistically significant.
However, I think it shows significant support for "bullet".  This is a
guideline in the AT&T alt text standards. (The guideline calls for more
description if it has meaning).

	I agree it does not look as nice as an asterisk, but I think
visual appearance is less important.

	I attached the survey results.  These are what I posted on
webwatch-l a few months ago.


	opionions here just my own, not necessarily those of my employer

kasday@att.com         phone 732 949 2693

Leonard R. Kasday
Room 1L-333
AT&T Laboratories
101 Crawfords Corner Rd.
Holmdel NJ 07733

	==========  survey results =========

Here's table of the average ratings for 4 alternatives, on a scale of
1-10.  You'll have to turn on pronunciation to hear some of them.

Description          average rating
[tiny blue sphere]   4.0
*                    5.1
[*]                  6.0
[bullet]             6.2

There were only 8 or 9 responses for each so the differences aren't that
significant, although I'd be wary of saying "tiny blue spheres" in every
item of a long list.  Basically, some people preferred the actual
description like "bullet", or in fewer cases, "tiny blue spheres", while
others liked using punctuation characters like * and [*] because they
could easily turn off punctuation with their screenreaders.

I also asked about more elaborate bullets, e.g. open mouths with
wiggling tongues, and asked what people though about labeling each with
just an asterisk *, but putting a WGBH style D link to the full
description after the first.  Responses were mixed.  On person stressed
that if the bullets had specific meanings, that information should not
be in the D link.  That is indeed how WGBH intended D links to be used.

The next question concerned the recommendation I've sometimes seen that
ALT text should be used on bullet lists to make them look like numbered
lists to people with screen readers.  The mean response to this was 4.3.
People objected that numbering the links because it 
> implies an order to the information that wasn't intended.

And also that it would be
> Quite confusing if the links are numbered setting is turned on in Lynx

On the other hand, another person thought that it would be 
> a handy way to keep one's place, especially if they [the 
> list items] are numerous.
And one person said the would be appropriate
> if the list has a logical sequence.
Received on Friday, 24 October 1997 08:08:12 GMT

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