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Re: Alt tags

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 07:34:47 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200109060634.f866Ylb13624@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> The problem we have is that when an alt tag appears on a navigation item, it

There is no such thing as an "alt tag", only an alt attribute.

> obscures part of the secondary navigation.  Tags also 'appear' to take a
> while to disappear.

You are confusing GUI browser rendering of alt attributes with the attributes
themselves.

> 1. Is there any way to choose where to place an alt tag in relation to the
> image it is describing or does it always appear just below 'the hand'?

HTML is not a presentational language, so cannot directly control this.
Up to CSS2, at least, handling of alt attributes for the screen media type
has been considered a local issue for the browser.

There is no hand in Lynx or speech browsers!  This tends to reflect the 
user interface conventions of the platform on which the browser is running.
 
> 2. Can you control the length of time an 'alt' tag appears onscreen?

Again out of scope for HTML and not covered by CSS to at least CSS2.

Have you checked to see if the operating system accessibility configuration
can control this?

> 3. Does anyone have any alternative suggestions to the 'alt' tag for the nav
> items (which at this point must remain as images).

If you are not allowed to have pure text alternative links, there is no
realistic alternative.  Even people with good vision will need the "tool
tips" (not "tool tips" is not the same as alt attributes) so that they
can follow the link without waiting for the graphics to load.  Text as
graphics obviously needs "tool tips" in case the stylisation of the
text makes it difficult to read and pure icons need them for people who
haven't learnt the icon language.

Note that, except for text as graphics, which is deprecated anyway, title is
the appropriate way of creating these tool tips.  Even for text as graphics, if
the text is terse, users operating with graphics may need the longer description
that is appropriate for title in order to understand what the text means.
 
> 4. There have been instances when surfing that 'alt' tags have appeared, yet
> when images are turned off some do not get labelled with their alternative
> text.  Does anyone know why this occurs?  See http://www.aahc.com.au/

I've noticed that Mozilla 0.9.3 doesn't display alt text when you disable
graphics.  I haven't had time to make sure this is not some poor HTML in
the highly presentational page that I was looking at.  If this is the case,
it may be because they treat turning off graphics as a banner blocking
measure, rather than a speed up or page validation measure.
Received on Thursday, 6 September 2001 09:13:40 GMT

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