Questionable implementation of IMG ALT attribute as tooltips

Colin F Reynolds (
Mon, 26 Jan 1998 22:06:14 +0000

Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 22:06:14 +0000
From: Colin F Reynolds <>
Subject: Questionable implementation of IMG ALT attribute as tooltips

In article <01ISU2RGUNG200877V@SCI.WFBR.EDU>, Foteos Macrides
>       HTML 4.0 provides for a TITLE *attribute* in IMG and homologous
>elements, with this explanation of its intent:
>  7.4.3 The title attribute
>   Attribute definitions
>   title = text [CS]
>          This attribute offers advisory information about the element
>          for which it is set.


> Values of the title attribute
>   may be rendered by user agents in a variety of ways. For instance,
>   visual browsers frequently display the title as a "tool tip" (a short
>   message that appears when the pointing device pauses over an object).


>       So what you want is:
>       <IMG SRC="foo.blah" ALT="alternative_string" TITLE="tooltip_string">
>and broader implementation and understanding of this provision in HTML 4.0.

I agree 100%.

So, AIUI, you are confirming that the position of the W3C is that the
implementation of the IMG element's ALT attribute as a tooltip is BAD,
and that a viable alternative exists in the recommendation.

Thank you.

Hopefully I can now go away and mark up my content in the manner you
describe above in the knowledge that, although in the short term non-
compliant browsers will produce a misleading rendering of my documents,
in the longer term the flawed implementations will be replaced by
compliant versions.

/me crosses his fingers...
Colin                                             c[_]
Q: How do you recognise a computer programmer?
A: The answer to the question "Would you like a tea or a coffee?" is: "Yes!"