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Re: Alt attribute for unimportant images

From: Ian Graham <igraham@smaug.java.utoronto.ca>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000 12:18:46 -0400
To: Walter Ian Kaye <walter@natural-innovations.com>
cc: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.SGI.4.05.10007121216050.140025-100000@smaug.java.utoronto.ca>

Some of these authoring issues are discussed in the W3C's WAI
authoring guidelines, found at:

http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT-TECHS/

You might want to look there to see the recomendations for
img alt attribute content. Also, if you see problems with
the recommendations, you can no doubt post feedback to the
appropriate W3C mailing list (after checking, of course, 
that the same issue hasn't already been done to death ;-) )

Best --

Ian
--
--
Ian Graham ......................... Centre for Academic Technology
i a n   d o t   g r a h a m    a t    u t o r o n t o   d o t   c a
..................... http://www.utoronto.ca/ian/ .................

On Tue, 11 Jul 2000, Walter Ian Kaye wrote:

> At 08:53p +0200 07/11/2000, Jan Roland Eriksson didst inscribe upon 
> an electronic papyrus:
> >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
> >  >purpose?
> >
> >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.
> >
> >So the answer to your question would be  ALT=""
> 
> I *strongly* DISagree, for the following reasons:
> 
>    * MSIE displays "(Image)" instead of "" (when image loading is off)
>    * Lynx does not show <A HREF><IMG ALT=""></A> links
>    * Old versions of Lynx display "[IMAGE]" instead of ""
> 
> If you use ALT=" " then these problems go away.
> Therefore:
> 
>    * Important images get captions for ALT
>    * Images with links get captions with a leading & trailing space
>      (so that consecutive ones don't run together)
>    * Images used for bullets get "* "
>    * Purely decorative images get " "
> 
> Do not EVER put ALT="Loading..." or anything similarly presumptuous.
> Always include WIDTH= and HEIGHT= attributes, even for tiny images.
> 
> These are the rules I live by, as they provide the best user experience
> regardless of browser.
> 
> 
> -boo
>   who cares about everyone on earth, no matter what browser or financial state
> 
> 
Received on Wednesday, 12 July 2000 12:18:51 GMT

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