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Re: Tool Tip behavior

From: Marjolein Katsma <access@javawoman.com>
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2000 00:36:14 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: "Bruce Bailey" <bbailey@clark.net>, "Web Accessibility Initiative" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 17:39 2000-03-08 -0500, Bruce Bailey wrote:
>I think the phenomenon of authors removing (or not using) ALT because of MS
>IE ToolTip pop-up behavior may be more widespread than we might care to
>admit.  Here's the work around:
>1)      Use good ALT text tag content (of course)!
>2)      Specify TITLE="" -- this is important -- as part of the same (IMG)
>element that contains the ALT text.
>The result (with IE 5, I expect 4 also) is suppression of the tool-tip
>pop-up.  Visual users get nothing (JavaScript swap-outs excepted) when they
>pause their mouse pointer over a graphic.  ALT content IS still accessible
>to screen reader and text browsers.
>Check out http://www.dors.state.md.us/index2.html as an example (compare to
>original home page at http://www.dors.state.md.us./index.html -- this demo
>page will not live for long).

I'm using IE4.01/SP2 on WinNT4/SP4 and I can confirm that this method does indeed suppress the tooltips with this browser.
When the page is viewed with images turned off, the image links are still usable (provided the browser is set up to use a large enough font).

I also tested with Opera 3.60 and found that there is always a tooltip for the ALT text (I didn't check if there's a way to turn this off in the browser itself; I'm using practically default settings).

So, as a method for the designer to conform to the client's wishes to suppress tooltips (without hindering navigability) it works - depending on which browser is used. As a web user, I'm not pleased - I actually prefer to see the (ALT or TITLE) tooltips and often hover the mouse over an image just to see if this provides some extra information.


Marjolein Katsma
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Received on Wednesday, 8 March 2000 18:36:43 UTC

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