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RE: Is an empty alt attribute ok when...

From: David Balch <david.balch@continuing-education.oxford.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 17:00:17 +0100
Message-ID: <9D26F7445E7CF0448267CA320343CC7B330ED0@klipspringer.conted.ox.ac.uk>
To: 'Patrick Lauke' <P.H.Lauke@salford.ac.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Patrick Lauke [mailto:P.H.Lauke@salford.ac.uk] 
> Sent: 13 May 2005 13:40
> > David Balch
> > I'm writing a short guide describing the information that should 
> > accompany images in content my group produces: title, caption, 
> > attribution, alternative equivilant.
> [...]
> > http://tall.conted.ox.ac.uk/testarea/david/image/ImageExamples.html
> A few thoughts off the top of my head (which may not 
> necessarily be "right", and will probably depend a lot more 
> on the context of the entire page these images are in):

Good point. I guess there's allways some degree of interpretation involed
dependant on context - and this page hasn't got any real context...

> - the Mona Lisa: your proposed ALT looks far more like a 
> LONGDESC to me; I'd stick with a simple "Photograph of the 
> Mona Lisa" or similar.

I respectfully disagree :-) "Photograph of the Mona Lisa" is only equivalent
if you know what that painting looks like. Admittedly my alt text is quite
long compared to WAI examples [WCA-T-7.1], but those /are/ the key features
of the painting...

> - World population increase: I would add "Diagram: " in front 
> of your current ALT (and possibly a LONGDESC linking to a 
> proper HTML table containing the actual data, plus trends etc 
> as summary)

Surely that it's a diagram isn't important when we're talking about the
data. Again it's a long alt text, and use of longdesc would certainly make
sense here.

> - Covalent bonding: empty alt seems fine (although that 
> usually implies some purely visual "fluff" images - so maybe 
> an ALT of "diagram of an H20 molecule")

Fluffy H20 :-) This one I see as a case where the caption relays the
information, and the image is an aid to comprehension. Reinforcement rather
than fluff, if you will.

> - Noodles: your ALT is definitely more of a LONGDESC, and may 
> not even be necessary; I'd argue that this is a case where 
> the image *is* in fact purely used for decorative purposes.

Yeah, too long. An alt text of "Eating noodles with chopsticks" fits better.
A good example of context being important - you percieved it as decorative,
whereas I intended it to place the viewer "in the picture".

> IMHO, of course...

Sure thing. It's helpful to work these issues through with others - thanks
for the reply.

[WCA-T-7.1] http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TECHS/#image-text-equivalent


David Balch.          | Web developer.
T: +44 (0)1865 280979 | Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning.
F: +44 (0)1865 280982 | University of Oxford.
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> Patrick
> ________________________________
> Patrick H. Lauke
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Received on Friday, 13 May 2005 16:00:22 UTC

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