Re: Questionable implementation of IMG ALT attribute as tooltips

Liam Quinn (liam@htmlhelp.com)
Sat, 24 Jan 1998 13:02:35 -0500


Message-Id: <3.0.5.32.19980124130235.0096bd50@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 13:02:35 -0500
To: Jordan Reiter <jreiter@mail.slc.edu>, www-html@w3.org
From: Liam Quinn <liam@htmlhelp.com>
In-Reply-To: <l0311070cb0ef146eae4e@[192.168.1.207]>
Subject: Re: Questionable implementation of IMG ALT attribute as   tooltips

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At 03:46 AM 24/01/98 -0500, Jordan Reiter wrote:
>=7FJukka Korpela felt an urge to reveal at 7:44 AM -0000 on 1/23/98:
>
>> An early (June 1993) draft for HTML,
>> <URL:http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/draft-ietf-iiir-html-01.txt>
>> described ALT as follows:
>>
>>   ALT                    Optional alternative text as an alternative
>>                          to the graphics for display in text-only
>>                          environments.
>>
>> On the other hand, it gave the following example (typos corrected=20
here):
>>
>>         Warning: <IMG SRC =3D"triangle.gif" ALT=3D"Warning:"> This must=
 be
>>         done by a qualified technician.
>>
>> which suggests to me that they didn't really _mean_ what they wrote.
>
>As far as I see it, in a matter of *usefulness*, the most important thing
>ALT text can do is replace the *function* of the image. In other words,=20
the
>triangle.gif could very well have been the standard "warning" icon--the
>triangle with the exclamation point in it. Here, the meaning is retained.

Here, the meaning is redundant.  A speech browser, search engine, or Lynx=20
would render the above example as

         Warning: Warning: This must be
         done by a qualified technician.

Oops.  Hopefully people now see why ALT=3D"" would be more appropriate in=20
this case.  If the warning icon were moved in front of the text=20
"Warning:", then ALT=3D"**" or something similar might be useful.

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--
Liam Quinn
Web Design Group            Enhanced Designs, Web Site Development
http://www.htmlhelp.com/    http://enhanced-designs.com/