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RE: Does anyone think that this site is priority 3 compliant?

From: Anthony Quinn <anthony@frontend.ie>
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2001 10:29:47 +0100
To: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>
Cc: "WAI Mailing list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BIEGIGKIOINLMIFFKLABMEMNCBAA.anthony@frontend.ie>
Hi Charles,

Thanks for your feedback. I have to admit that we were initially pretty
embarrassed about the missing alt attributes when we got your mail. In
fairness, it's the cardinal sin. Anyway, we re-traced our steps in the
design process to figure out how me let such a seemingly obvious "mistake"
slip through. Our reasoning raises some interesting questions. Here's what

The missing alt attributes were image links which were associated with text
links. In our case, these are screen shots of websites and software
interfaces we review, etc. Originally, we had alt text attributed to the
images. However, because the alt text was the same as the link text, the
screen reader was simply repeating itself all the way down the right hand
column. This was accessible, but previous experience and testing with people
who use screen readers has shown us that this repetition of information is
very tedious, so...

We inserted a null value in the alt attribute. But the images are links, and
that means the screen reader 'calls' a link but provides no supporting
information. Also, we wanted to keep the images as links for people who
don't use screen readers, so...

We combined the actual text and image within the link tags, to create a
single link entity which was comprised of the link text and the image. In
that way the screen reader we use for testing (JAWS 3.7) simply reads the
link once and does not pick up the image. Perfect! But...

When we took this step, we discarded the alt attribute altogether. We didn't
think of testing with Bobby (or any other automated validator) seeing as it
worked on the screen reader - after all, our original solution would have
been passed by Bobby, despite being somewhat tedious. However, we should
have thought to retain the alt attribute, with a null value, even if it made
no difference on JAWS 3.7.

We would be interested to know if combining the text and image link as one
entity without using the alt attribute, works on other screen readers - if
anyone can let us know if it definitely doesn't work on older readers,
please let us know. Either way...

We have added the alt-text - better safe than sorry.

On the subject of the other errors raised by the W3C validator, we're
rolling up the proverbial sleeves...

Again, thanks for the comments.



-----Original Message-----
From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org]
Sent: 31 May 2001 14:26
To: Anthony Quinn
Cc: WAI Mailing list
Subject: Re: Does anyone think that this site is priority 3 compliant?


there are some errors I picked up using the W3C validator - the following
link will give you the results (warning long URI):


Main problems I saw were some missing alt attributes (which probably should
have been blank - alt="") and no headings to give an idea of the structure.

Like the content though.


Charles McCN

On Thu, 31 May 2001, Anthony Quinn wrote:

  Hi all,

  We have just re-designed our usability infocentre with accessibility as a
  major criteria in the brief. As far as we can tell, we think that it is
  P3 compliant but we don't want to make a big deal of this, or mistakenly
  make the claim because some of the priority 3 points are somewhat

  While I realise that this request is somewhat off topic for this board,
  be grateful if anyone was to take a look at the site and tell us if you
  think it is P3 compliant. You can get it at this url

  Thanks in advance,


  Anthony Quinn - Head of Interaction Design

  Frontend - Usability Engineering & Interface Design
  40 Westland Row, Dublin 2, Ireland

  email anthony.quinn@frontend.com
  web http://www.frontend.com
  tel  +353 1 24 11 600
  fax +353 1 24 11 601

  Visit our Usability InfoCentre at:

Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409
134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1 617
258 5999
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex,
Received on Friday, 1 June 2001 05:27:01 UTC

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