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Re: empty alt tags

From: Jo Miller <jo@bendingline.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2001 15:31:30 -0400
Message-Id: <p0510030ab7a07c0de890@[192.168.1.102]>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 14:52 -0500 8/15/01, Michelle Podd wrote:
>Hello,
>Can anyone tell me the purpose for using empty alt tags for unessential
>images like spacer gifs?

At 15:11 -0400 8/15/01, Fitzgerald, Jimmie wrote:
>But, is there a reason to use an empty alt tag of "" as opposed to simply
omitting the alt tag alltogether?


Michelle and Jimmie,

Empty ALT attributes allow screen readers and text-only browsers to 
ignore the images rather than reading out (or showing) the images' 
filenames. Here's an example of how part of a page with no ALT 
attributes displays in Lynx:

----- Begin example.

[header_home.gif]
    __________ [spacer.gif] [search.gif]-Submit
    [spacer.gif]
    [spacer.gif]
    [spacer.gif] About Our Company [spacer.gif] Our Project
    [spacer.gif] Funding Opportunities [spacer.gif] Education [spacer.gif]
    Apply [spacer.gif] Newsroom [spacer.gif] Research
    [spacer.gif]
    [spacer.gif] [USEMAP:email_or_print.gif] [spacer.gif]
    [spacer.gif]
    [spacer.gif]
    [spacer.gif]
    [spacer.gif]
    [spacer.gif]


----- End example.

With appropriate ALT attributes for the images that convey 
information, and empty ALT attributes for spacer gifs, the page might 
be rendered as follows:

----- Begin example.

Home
__________ Search Submit

About Our Company     Our Project
Funding Opportunities   Education  Apply    Newsroom   Research

Email this page    Print this page

---- End example.

Omitting ALT attributes altogether is not valid HTML, in any case.
--
Jo Miller
jo@bendingline.com
Received on Wednesday, 15 August 2001 15:32:26 GMT

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