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Re: Best Practices: Presentational Images

From: Laurens Holst <lholst@students.cs.uu.nl>
Date: Thu, 07 Jul 2005 21:33:45 +0200
Message-ID: <42CD8399.9050902@students.cs.uu.nl>
To: Jeremy Rand <jeremy@asofok.org>
Cc: www-html@w3.org

Jeremy Rand wrote:

> When you want to include presentational images (alt text as ""; is not 
> content) in an XHTML document, is it best practice to include them in 
> the document itself, or to add them through XSLT?  I'm thinking it 
> would be XSLT, since that would separate content from presentation, 
> but I'm wondering what the people on this list think.

You should never have presentational images in HTML. They belong in CSS, 
and in CSS only. XSLT is not a solution.

However, illustrational images should be in the HTML (e.g. an drawing of 
a boat in an article). In those cases it may be justifyable to not 
specify alternate text, because the image does not actually add anything 
of value to the content. So that is where an empty alt="" comes in.

To give another example, say you have written a story about a trip you 
have made. If you include photos that you have taken of that trip in the 
page, or small maps, etc. they should have an alternate text. However, 
if you add some random photos of some mountains and rivers purely for 
illustrational purposes, then they do not need an alternative text. 
After all, a screenreader telling a blind person that there is "a 
picture of a few mountains" somewhere in the middle of the text hardly 
gives any relevant information, and it does not add to the ‘atmosphere’ 
of the text either (something which illustrational images are meant to do).


Ushiko-san! Kimi wa doushite, Ushiko-san!!
Laurens Holst, student, university of Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Website: www.grauw.nl. Backbase employee; www.backbase.com.
Received on Thursday, 7 July 2005 19:33:46 UTC

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