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Re: use of alt attributes in decorative images

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 19:38:32 -0500 (EST)
To: Frank Tobin <ftobin@uiuc.edu>
cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0101241934190.8849-100000@tux.w3.org>
If something has a purely decorative functon, then it is better not to
describe it in alt text, as it becomes part of thee flow of content, and a
mostly annoying distraction. (It is a fine idea to have a description
available for people who are interested, for examle via longdesc.)

In some cases it is possible to use CSS - for example where images are used
for list bullets, or as backgrounds.  but in other cases it is not possible
and in general I don't think it is better to include more possibilities. WHen
the image function is part of markup information (for example it is the list
bullet) it doesn't need further description normally, but CSS does not make
it possible to provide a description of the image.

Cheers

Charles McCN

On Wed, 24 Jan 2001, Frank Tobin wrote:

  Some images in xhtml documents are there merely for presentational
  purposes;  they have no semantic or navigational meaning whatsoever.  For
  example, they can be used to add to the "feel" of the site.  Is it
  appropriate to give these images a non-empty alt descrition?  Should the
  alt describe the image, or should it only describe it only if the
  description of the image would flow within the surrounding content and
  structure of the document?

  Would somehow using CSS be a better approach to embedding these
  presentational-only images?



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Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
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Received on Wednesday, 24 January 2001 19:39:03 GMT

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