W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > October to December 2004

Re: Alt is not a description (was Re: when to use longdesc for images)

From: Léonie Watson <lw@nomensa.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 13:55:23 -0000
Message-ID: <00d901c4e764$bf955fc0$3c02a8c0@intranet.nomensa.com>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

David Dorward wrote:-
    "The prose suggests giving a description of images which are
decorative. Why? What benefit does it bring to users to know that
there is a "Drawing of a house" somewhere in a document if they cannot
see it and the only purpose of the image is to _look_ nice?"


    Not all visually impaired people have always been that way. An 
appropriate alternate description of a decorative image can conjur up a 
picture as desireable, although not perhaps as accurate, as actually looking 
at it, to someone who has a recollection of such things as colour, shape and 
texture. Even people who have never had any useful sight will be able to 
appreciate the content of the image to a certain degree.

    If the image of the house serves no purpose, then it probably shouldn't 
be there. If it serves the purpose of adding colour and vivacity to a 
document, then there is absolutely no reason why both sighted and non 
sighted users shouldn't participate in that emotive aspect. Both user groups 
will have some appreciation of what a house is, or more importantly what it 
represents. Their respective interpretations of exactly what a house looks 
like may well differ, but fundamentally it will achieve the same goal.


Regards,
Léonie.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Dorward" <david@dorward.me.uk>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 1:42 PM
Subject: Re: Alt is not a description (was Re: when to use longdesc for 
images)


>
> On Tue, Dec 21, 2004 at 07:52:52AM -0500, Matthew J. Giustino wrote:
>> 1) How exactly are you meaning that "alt" is a replacement?
>
> In that it is the content users get instead of the image, and should
> therefore replace the image (which may not describe it).
>
> The prose suggests giving a description of images which are
> decorative. Why? What benefit does it bring to users to know that
> there is a "Drawing of a house" somewhere in a document if they cannot
> see it and the only purpose of the image is to _look_ nice?
>
>> 2)The second example of that page;
>>
>> <A HREF="home.htm"><IMG SRC="home.gif" ALT="Link to the Home page."></A>
>>
>> Yes your browser would know that the image is a link. "alt" is merely
>> being used to "describe" where the link will bring you.
>
> Scratch "merely", it is also telling the user that the link is a link
> - which they already know.
>
> There is nothing special about images in links. The alt text should be
> a suitable replacement for the image, and both the image and its
> alternative should (independently) "Clearly identify the target of
> [the] link" (Checkpoint 13.1)
>
>> Which is a clear example of how "alt" is a description.
>
> It isn't a description of the image.
>
> -- 
> David Dorward                                      http://dorward.me.uk
> 
Received on Tuesday, 21 December 2004 13:55:39 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 19 July 2011 18:14:18 GMT