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Re: img alt text, links and titles

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002 07:46:03 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200201180746.g0I7k3400857@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> sailboats, palm trees, and red-roofed houses. None of these images has 
> anything to do with the text that it appears next to, but all of them 
> are indeed there to send a message.

This is one of the great problems that commercial users have with the
HTML philosophy.  HTML was designed for clear conveyance of information,
but these mood images are not.  You can get away with completely 
misleading people with background images in advertisements, with,
maybe, some small print to indicate that the image isn't really related
to the product.  The same goes for colour and layout, although the message
is more subtle.  
> 
> How do we get this same message across to blind users?

The message is probably an order: "you *will* feel very comfortable
about the idea of moving to this area".  A lot of the use of colour
etc. is putting over similar messages.  If you give a straightforward
text description of the true message, at the best it will fall flat,
at worst it will be clear that one is trying to associate ideas when
there is no justification with the association in reality.

Given that touch and smell are not yet standard browser features, the
alternatives might have to be sounds which invoked similar moods in the
blind to those which the pictures invoked for the sighted.  I'm not sure
how well designers actually think about the real message they are sending,
or just use conventions; to translate the real message requires a deep
understanding.  It's unlikely that someone retrofitting accessibility will
think in terms of the real message - they are after almost mechanical
rules.

Actually, at least for customer relationship type adverts (especially
IT consultancies), at least in the UK, it is often the text that is
misleading.  The text says what the prospect would really like such a
company to be like and this is juxtaposed with a logo, or even the 
suggestion: "call xxxx now", but nowhere is an explicit statement made
that the xxxx is provably like that ideal, rather than like the rest
of the field.  I think the advertising agencies often write these without
any knowledge of the company at all.

Most advertising is about being economical with the truth or deliberately
confusing issues, but the WAI guidelines assume absolute honesty.

(My suspicion is that the very best advertising designers understand
exactly what they are doing, but probably would not admit to it
outside their own professional circles.)
Received on Friday, 18 January 2002 02:49:27 GMT

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