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Re: Creating accessible tables for layout and data

From: Jim Byrne <j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 12:28:15 +0000
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B87D975F.D8B2%j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk>
on 30/1/02 12:01 pm, Jouni Heikniemi at jth@dns.mikrobitti.fi wrote:

> On Tue, 29 Jan 2002, Jim Byrne wrote:
>> I am eager to get some feedback - I am sure not everyone will agree with my
>> conclusions.
> I only quickly skimmed through the text, and I agree mostly. It's good to
> see an accessibility article that is ready to accept compromises with the
> HTML tables versus CSS dilemma.
> However, I find it quite amusing that a fine accessibility article written
> with considerable expertise fails in one basic way: the purely decorative
> images have descriptive alt texts. After the first heading "Table
> Manners", my Lynx says "Street Sign: Stop". Further down, there's one I
> like even more: "These data tables generally have headings along the top
> or down the side, or both. Pink flowers". Yeah :-)
> Best regards,
> Jouni
Thanks for your feedback Jouni,

You are right the pictures are purely decorative. I am trying to get this
right; are you saying that decorative graphics should not have descriptive
alt texts? I take it you are not - but pointing out to me that I could use
my alt tags to add more appropriate descriptions. Am I picking you up

One of the problems I think about when adding alt tags to photos that are
purely decorative is the problem of how to make them short. I could put the
words 'decorative photo:' in front of all my alt tag descriptions but this
would probably extend the text beyond the width of the picture - which is
far as I know can make the alt tags unreadable in browsers with graphics
turned off.

I can use the alt tag to give a short description and the title to provide
something a little longer - and in addition use the longdesc attribute to
provide even more info.

I want to get it right - so if it is clear to you how what the best approach
is please point me in the right direction.

Jim Byrne Project Director, The Making Connections Unit, Glasgow Caledonian
University, Glasgow G4 OBA, 0141 331 3893

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Received on Wednesday, 30 January 2002 07:28:44 UTC

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