W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > August 1996

Re: Images as alternatives to text instead of the reverse

From: Stephanos Piperoglou <stephanos@hol.gr>
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 1996 19:21:11 +0300 (EET DST)
To: Douglas Rand <drand@sgi.com>
cc: Ka-Ping Yee <kpyee@aw.sgi.com>, www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.960821191112.405A-100000@trillian.hol.gr>
On Wed, 21 Aug 1996, Douglas Rand wrote:

> I'd like to say quite the opposite.  The usage of images is not a whim
> of the document designer.  It isn't really equivalent to put text in
> place of an image either.  And it isn't "stylistic" to me.
> 
> I agree that there is far too much presentation stuff in HTML,  but the
> IMG tag isn't a particularly guilty member.  Images are content,  they
> are not presentation.  Images are not directly replacable by text when
> they are used for navigation,  nor does all the information in the image
> get conveyed when the alternative text is put in place of the image.
> 
> Think of the alternative text as more of a hack to get around poor
> bandwidth of connections,  or the lack of richness in a user agent which
> is rendering to a text terminal.

Being in greece, I know well enough what low bandwidth means. For my
service, even when I'm at the office (I work at an ISP) getting more than 1
K/sec on a remote (i.e. outside the ISP's network) connection is considered
incredibly good fortune.

Ideally, a viewer with low bandwidth should be able to get *all* the
information provided by a web page while saving file size by ignoring all of
the presentational elements in the document. Someone browsing with images ON
but stylesheets OFF if my proposal is implemented will get exactly that. A
non-fancy document where the navigatior toolbar will read "Previous Next
Home Mail" instead of pictures of two arrows, an envelope and a house while
he will get any images that are pertinent to the content of the page, e.g. a
diagram or a picture of a described object. Thus he will automatically have
a high content/bytecount ratio without limiting himself to textual data. Not
implementing the proposal will mean leaving decidedly presentational markup
(i.e. images alternate to text) in the HTML to be loaded by default. Most of
this can be made using a <SPAN ID="xxx"></SPAN> syntax where the stylesheet
will refer the user agent to the correct image to replace the text.

= Stephanos Piperoglou = stephanos@hol.gr = http://users.hol.gr/~stephanos/ =
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Received on Wednesday, 21 August 1996 12:22:43 GMT

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