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Re: WD-WAI-PAGEAUTH-0203 and the use of ALT text

From: nir dagan <dagan@upf.es>
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 98 7:12:50 MET
Message-Id: <199802060612.HAA06242@sahara.upf.es>
To: A.Flavell@physics.gla.ac.uk
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org, dagan@upf.es
I tend to agree with Flavell.

I also have a followup question.

I think the guidelines should have some kind of "deprecated"
guidelines. In order to help authors to fix their old pages,
or to help authors who will never bother writing stylesheets
for non-visual media. (only a minority is writing those for screen)

Many authors can't afford being "perfect" and one should find a way to help
them (see Chris Hasser: Censorship by laziness)

The deprecated guidlines in question include the following:

Many authors use HTML art (a cousin of ASCII art) to do decoration
to their pages (I know it's bad). the question is how to make it 
"invisible" to non-visual browsers.

In images, writing alt=" " seems to work (for Lynx at least)

Should HR title=" " do the job for a HR used to underline a heading?
The answer depends on how non visual browsers present HR, when it has 
a title. Do they just present the title or do something in addition?

Mentioning HR, should an IMG serving as real HR have the ALT as the guide
lines propose for title. E.g., ALT="Footnotes" ? I think so, no?
Flavell correctly deprecated ALT="-----------".

I think that HTML art is going to increase, since the comercial 
community is worried about bandwidth, and ways to reduce the use of 
images. People are hesitent with stylesheets due to slow and buggy 
implementation, as well as the need for the author to understand
complicated concepts like inheretence and cascading order.

I saw in Web Review an article proposing to use 
HTML art by making some drawings with tables. The 
idea is to make a grid and paint the different cells with 
different colors. 

overall this method could be speech friendly. It is evidently Lynx
friendly (up to 
 a possible strange space). The question is what a non-visual browser will do 
with a table whose cells have only nbsp in them?

Will it make some "noises" (speech browser)? e.g. [TABLE] as Lynx
writes [IMAGE] for an image without an ALT attribute?  

( I know I can hide the table with a stylesheet, and make it important
to be on the safe side, but 99% will never write a stylesheet for the 
non-visual media, at least in the near future.)

Nir Dagan
Received on Friday, 6 February 1998 01:19:42 UTC

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