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RE: Creating accessible tables for layout and data

From: Jim Thatcher <jim@jimthatcher.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 09:48:07 -0600
To: "Jim Byrne" <j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <MABBJNHDAODJNEJPGBCLGEKHCEAA.jim@jimthatcher.com>
I think it is not a good suggestion to use alt = quote space quote, to say
nothing of suggesting alt = quote vertical bar vertical bar vertical bar
vertical bar vertical bar quote. I don't understand, David, why you make
that suggestion. Alt = quote quote (no space) is empty alt text, null alt
text, saying there is no information in this image and such images should
and will be ignored by assistive technology. But when you put a space
between the quotes, some AT will rightly assume there is information there.
And visually the browsers display [ ]. Much worse is alt="||||". It doesn't
cover up anything for anybody - in fact exposes images as "||||" or
"vertical bar vertical bar vertical bar vertical bar vertical bar."

Jim
Jim@jimthatcher.com
The web accessibility resource at http://jimthatcher.com


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of David Poehlman
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2002 6:46 AM
To: Jim Byrne; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Creating accessible tables for layout and data


in summary because this has been covered before, alt is not description,
it is substitution.  if the images have any meaning at all, put the
meaning there.  if not, use alt="" or alt=" " and there is even some
debate over which of these is best.  An alternative approach would be to
put a string of characters such as alt="|||||" to cover them up really
well, but this could get tedious.
Happy reading.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Byrne" <j.byrne@gcal.ac.uk>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2002 7:28 AM
Subject: Re: Creating accessible tables for layout and data


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
correctly?

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.

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

Everything you need to know about publishing accessible information on
the
Web.

Services: Website Accessibility Audits, Accessible Web design,
Accessible
Website Management Training.

The Making Connections Unit: http://www.mcu.org.uk/
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http://www.mcu.org.uk/mailinglists/
Received on Friday, 1 February 2002 10:50:09 GMT

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