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RE: Alt attribute for unimportant images

From: <RickR@biztro.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 15:31:49 -0400 (EDT)
Message-ID: <2A7B801AD802D411BC6400508B6F52341BA8B0@THOR>
To: jrexon@newsguy.com, tunheim@operamail.com
Cc: www-html@w3.org
Isn't ALT a required attribute of the IMG element in XHTML 1.0?  Is this an

I say this, because if you must use IMG for layout purpose (e.g. the
infamous spacer.gif), you wouldn't want the user agent to pop up a "tool
tip" for every little GIF you may have on your web page.

Or is it up to the user agent to change its ways?  Perhaps only allowing a
tool tip with the TITLE attribute.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jan Roland Eriksson [mailto:jrexon@newsguy.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2000 11:54 AM
To: Alf Inge Myhre Tunheim
Cc: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: Alt attribute for unimportant images

On Tue, 11 Jul 2000 14:40:16 -0400, Alf Inge Myhre Tunheim
<tunheim@operamail.com> wrote:

>Are there any guidelines about what text string (if any) that should be 
>specified in the alt attribute of images that only have a visual design 

Yes, it's right there in the HTML4.01 specification...

Section "13.8 How to specify alternate text" has this...

  "Do not specify irrelevant alternate text when including
   images intended to format a page, for instance, alt="red ball"
   would be inappropriate for an image that adds a red ball for
   decorating a heading or paragraph. In such cases, the alternate
   text should be the empty string (""). Authors are in any case
   advised to avoid using images to format pages; style sheets
   should be used instead.

   Do not specify meaningless alternate text (e.g., "dummy text").
   Not only will this frustrate users, it will slow down user
   agents that must convert text to speech or braille output."

So the answer to your question would be  ALT=""

Jan Roland Eriksson <jrexon@newsguy.com>
Received on Tuesday, 11 July 2000 16:51:44 UTC

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