Re: Useful implementation of IMG ALT

James Green (
Sat, 24 Jan 1998 14:49:18 +0000 (GMT)

From: James Green <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-Id: <>
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 14:49:18 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: Useful implementation of IMG ALT

On Fri, 23 Jan 1998 20:17:25 +0000 Mark <> 

[ ... ]

>  I've noticed a few discussions happen on this topic 
> elsewhere. Some
> of the problem with the ALT tag that seems to be arising is the fact
> that the version 4 'big two' browsers are implementing them as
> tooltips, as is well known. People are now trying to write their HTML
> documents around this, and have been including items under the alt tag
> other than the file size, and/or name, etc, and are instead placing
> descriptive sentences in there, for the browser to display when the
> mouse if over the image.
>  I don't know if your post was a reply to something, or just a 
> general comment, but one suggestion I have heard of is two make two
> similar attribute to the <IMG> tag. One would be the 'alt' text
> displayed when images are off, or not supported, the other would be
> for containing the tooltip text for when the images are loaded. Just
> wondering what your thoughts are on this, and also on what you think
> when you come across a site that has implemented the ALT attribute to
> be used as a tooltip text, instead of what it was meant for.

It would appear to me that this whole thing has gotten out of hand. I 
noticed in the html-authoring newsgroup last night that someone has 
started a thread on this topic, and Neil + co. had replied.

As per a previous posting, maybe I am 'picking up' the best of way of 
using it, but a lot of people can't decide on how to make use of the 
ALT attribute as it was intended and now also how to use it as a 

I know that the 'big two' make up a fair old share of the browsers in 
use (esp. now that Navigator is free), but their implmentations really 
don't concern me.

I've been using ALT="[ Pic ]" where the picture is difficult to 
explain, because when it *is* difficult to explain, I've always had the 
need or intention to include a textual description (or story) about it 
beside it.

I never use pictures for horizontal rules, etc., as I find they are 
often what stops to page from loading immediately, are are of no 
importance. I always use <HR> usually with CLASS="x" where x is a 
number defined in a stylesheet file.

While I do not see where people's problems lie in choosing the correct 
wording for both ALT and tooltips, I would be happy to hear from anyone 
in this rather silly situation and maybe I can offer my own ALTs for 
their problematic graphics.

I certainly do not see the need to create another attribute just for 


James Green

Term e-mail:   |   Home e-mail: