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RE: The title attribute is 99% bad

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 2004 21:56:11 -0400
To: "'David R. Stong'" <drs18@psu.edu>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <006301c49090$095e6c90$6601a8c0@bosshog>

David R. Stong wrote:
> I like the spirit of Jesper's comment; it points out that the title
> attribute is rendered differently in different browsers, 

So?...  Same thing for <img src="">... Try that in Lynx <wink>

> and if
> relied on to provide access, may as yet, not succeed. 

I cannot see why this is a reason *not* to provide the Title attribute.
Forward compatibility is just as useful as backward compatibility
(perhaps more so).  Just because today's current crop of browsers do not
provide *optimal* support as determined by certain developers is not
(IMHO) a reason to drop a potentially useful attribute. 

> Kynn's brief
> response sent me to the standards to check a few things.
> I believe Jesper points out a real problem, 

Real or imagined?

> but Kynn seems to be
> correct. The HTML Techniques standards  clearly state the title
> attribute is used for supplementary material. There is an editorial
> note: "It is expected that the Techniques Gateway will define what
> "supplementary information" is and how it should be used."
> I think this places a share of the burden on the user agent, which is
> addressed in the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines as "Render
> conditional content."
> <http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/REC-UAAG10-20021217/guidelines.html
> #tech-conditional-content>  


I have a tired old expression which states that as web developers we're
like gasoline refiners.  I don't care what car you're driving (from
Ferrari to bazoo), my job is just to make sure that you're getting the
best gasoline I can pump out.

Jesper Tverskov wrote:
> 1) that can also be used by keyboard users,

Later modified to "ordinary" keyboard users... Extraordinary keyboard
users need not apply? - This is a user agent issue

> 2) and also is rendered automatically when the document is printed,

In what way is this an accessibility "issue"?  While current browsers
may not support this behaviour (and maybe they should), there are other
ways of achieving this function (Print style sheets perhaps?).  I do not
see it as a serious accessibility problem though.  How often do _you_
print off web pages?  How often do visually impaired users print off web
pages?  Should we remove the Title attribute (which can be useful to the
visually impaired) because it doesn't print out?  HUH?  Where is this

> 3) and in such a way that the tool tip is not turned off after a few
seconds (IE does that),

User agent issue, plain and simple.

>4) and in such a way that the text in the tool tip resizes a long with
the rest of the text of the web page,

Again, a user agent issue.

We need to STOP developing for specific browsers, even if one current
browser has a 98% market share.  I've been around long enough to
remember when a different browser held that mantle (Netscape 3 anyone?),
and believe I will live to see another upstart grab that title some day.
If a member of this list is concerned about the fact that no mainstream
browser is doing justice to the Title attribute, then he should involve
himself in Mozilla.org and work on that area.  

But please let's not throw the baby out with the bath water when we are
discussing the WCAG 2 - I have not seen any proof that the Title
attribute is "99% bad".

Just another $0.02 from this neck of the woods.

Received on Thursday, 2 September 2004 01:56:27 UTC

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