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RE: Tool Tip behavior

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 14:28:15 -0500
To: "WAI Interest Group Emailing List" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <unagi69@concentric.net>
Message-ID: <000e01bf7e34$21a93640$1aac66a7@151877>
Dear Group,

I would like to repeat my earlier request as to under what circumstances
(versions) does IE displays TITLE attributes for IMG.  IE 4.5 on the Mac is
one.  Is the problem that my TITLE is part of the A HREF and not the IMG?
(IE has displayed TITLE for the _text_ portion of an Anchor since at least
ver. 4.01).

I am hoping to get from this discussion advice to give a content provider
who decided to remove ALT content (from a graphically rich site) because she
was annoyed by the pop-up tool-tips behavior of IE.

Dear Gregory (and anyone else who wants to contribute),

Please give more concrete advice for my home page
(http://www.dors.state.md.us/).  Generally, you and I agree on what makes
good ALT content.  I believe you found most of my IMG code (including
several graphical links in the "This site has been designed... section) to
be acceptable.  It is the series of five "buttons" at the bottom of the page
that we disagree upon.  With all due respect, I don't think the comparison
with using "Magnifying Glass" instead of "Search" (for a search/find icon
that happened to look like a magnifying glass) is appropriate here.  That is
NOT my philosophy (and I think you know me well enough that you understand
that to be the case).

1)	I expressed an intent that my ALT convey something similar to the visual
impression of button slash navigation bar.  Is this legitimate or should I
just give up that idea?

2)	I think we agree that the ALT in question is no less (but no more)
helpful than the graphic.  Do you think that in general it is a good rule of
thumb to forego equivalence when ALT can be used instead to supplement
and/or improve upon the content of the graphic?

3)	Please suggest specific TITLE and ALT content.  Do not tell me to make
them the same because I do not agree with that idea!  Do you think I should
use what I have for TITLE as ALT content, and _delete_ the TITLE attribute?

Thank you!

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gregory J. Rosmaita [mailto:unagi69@concentric.net]
> Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2000 12:54 PM
> To: Bruce Bailey
> Cc: WAI Interest Group Emailing List
> Subject: RE: Tool Tip behavior
> aloha, bruce!
> you wrote:
>> Philosophically, I think the ALT content should parallel the IMG
>> content.  If
>> the graphic is a little cryptic, so should be the ALT text!  I am
>> grateful
>> that TITLE gives me an appropriate place to add a little more
>> content.  Is
>> it my fault that the current crop of browsers don't implement this
>> well?  Visually, the IMGs line up nicely and look like buttons.  I wanted
>> to try and convey this with the ALT content, hence my use of
>> "Jump to".  I
>> will sometimes use ALT like "DORS Logo", but that is NOT what is pictured
>> in this case!
> unquote
> no, it is not your fault that TITLE isn't widely or consistently
> supported,
> but literally reproducing graphic content as ALT text, does not,
> in both my
> personal and professional estimation, constitute a very wise
> practice...  consider this real life case taken from an educational
> institution's web site, which has since been completely overhauled:
> on a page there appeared 3 graphically defined hyperlinks  one of them
> contained a picture of a rose, another a snowflake, and the third a
> maple-leaf....  following the link with which the graphic of the rose had
> been associated, led to information about the spring semester; following
> the snowflake link, led to information on the winter session, and
> the leaf
> link led to information about the fall semester...
> the links were ALT texted in accordance with your philosophy -- one was
> ALT-texted "rose", the second "snowflake", and the third "leaf
> turning from
> green to red"
> now, such ALT text accurately described the graphic for which they were
> defined, but what information does that convey to the user?  absolutely
> none...
> moreover, what of users whose primary means of accessing content (such as

> those using robust text-based solutions, such as NetTamer or Lynx32), for
> whom TITLE text is either unavailable, or available only in limited
> circumstances (such as when viewing a list of links)?
> it is insufficient to simply say -- well, the graphics are pretty damn
> cryptic, so why shouldn't the ALT text follow suit?  it is a question of
> general usability, as well as accessibility...   and the two goals --
> accessibility and usability -- are often quite inter-related...
> in closing, you asked, quote:
> In short, if the MD TAP button graphic isn't sufficient, is a
> better choice
> not to have the link at all?
> unquote
> no, bruce, you're missing my point...   the aesthetics of your
> site are up
> to you -- if you like the way the buttons look, by all means, keep them,
> but realize that if you do, their function and purpose may not be readily
> apparent to anyone, especially someone whose experience of the web is,
> perforce, visually oriented and who may rely on iconic
> information...  and,
> finally, since there is inconsistency between browsers on how (or
> whether)
> they handle TITLE and ALT when both are applied to a graphically defined
> hyperlink, wouldn't it be wiser to err on the side of caution?
> gregory.
Received on Wednesday, 23 February 2000 14:30:46 UTC

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