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

From: Andy J. W. Affleck <aaffleck@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 09:47:53 -0500
Message-ID: <af1813204122106475334e1e9@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

I've always taken the approach that there are three levels of non-text
content on a site:

Eye-candy: things that serve no purpose other than to make a site
visually appealing/attractive and (in many cases) satisfy the
marketing departments. There is no content value (though there may be
value to a sighted user in that some of the eye candy can be used to
help denote the navigation system in a way that makes the site easier
to use -- but I do not mean the actual navigation, that is not
included in this grouping).

Mood-Setting: This is the middle layer of graphics which may serve to
set the mood or set the stage as it were. These graphics are not
direct content and may not be considered essential, but they are
important in that they help frame what is going on.

Content. This includes the actual navigation as well as actual content.

Given those three, I never alt-ify the first group unless there is
something there which will enhance the usability of the site for
someone using a non-visual user agent. I alt-ify the second group as
makes sense and is relevant. There may be time when doing so may be
annoying or detrimental to other users and I'll avoid it. But usually,
it's important to get this content in there for all users. And,
obviously, content should always be fully available.

-A
Received on Tuesday, 21 December 2004 14:47:55 GMT

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