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abbr vs alt

From: Jim Jewett <jimjjewett@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2008 19:38:42 -0500
Message-ID: <fb6fbf560812061638q70969560tf35913b3c759e624@mail.gmail.com>
To: sxn02@yahoo.com
Cc: www-html@w3.org, "W3C WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>

On Fri, Dec 5, 2008 at 4:13 PM, Sorin Schwimmer <sxn02@yahoo.com> wrote:
>   <abbr title="Uses SmartChip technology"><img src="smartchip.jpg"></abbr>

My first thought was that this was clearly wrong; there is no text
inside the abbr, and no alt on the img.

But as I thought more about it, I started to wonder if Sorin's
solution is actually better than the current solution.  (Except, of
course, that it isn't standard -- and I'm not sure how hard it would
be to teach assistive technology about idioms like this.)

Would  <img src="smartchip.jpg" alt="Uses SmartChip technology">
really be better?  The "Uses" really isn't part of the alt, and people
browsing *with* images would lose the valuable information about why
that image was chosen.  (Equivalent to a key or legend on a map.)

<abbr title="Uses"><img src="smartchip.jpg" alt="Uses SmartChip
technology"></abbr> gets the image right, but is even more clearly
abuse of abbr.

<span title="Uses SmartChip technology"><img src="smartchip.jpg"></span>
is worse because the iconic image is arguably an abbreviation, and
because titles on span are less likely to be made available.

-jJ
Received on Sunday, 7 December 2008 00:39:21 GMT

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