W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > February 2004

Re: [css3-ui] Zoom cursors

From: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Date: Sat, 07 Feb 2004 14:32:39 +0100
To: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Cc: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <405cd9fc.334756053@smtp.bjoern.hoehrmann.de>

* David Woolley wrote:
>I don't see how these new cursor values will avoid these abuses of
>alt attributes.  They appear to me to be attempts to produce tooltip
>behaviour on Netscape and, as  Netscape 4 is almost certainly going to
>implement title before the new cursor values (i.e. never), and laying
>aside that title is also not specified as a mechanism for creating tooltip
>instructions, people will not stop abusing alt this way because current
>and actively maintained browsers support new cursor types; they will
>stop using it some time after NS4 ceases to a significant target browser
>(quite a long time because people will have learned the techique and it
>will still produce the effect they expect on the more modern GUI browsers,
>and new designers will copy code from pages written by designers who
>learned in the NS4 era).

Existing user agents and existing practise is never a case against a new
feature. This is not about tooltips, it's about navigational hinting. It
is not obvious to users how to navigate via images, hence authors seek
means to aid their users in this regard, and alt/title attributes are so
far all they've got that makes at least some sense.

<a title = 'Click to enlarge' ...><img ...></a> is not much better than
using alt attributes, <a title = 'Larger version of this image'>...
isn't either, the latter is probably even worse; there isn't anything
good available, yet authors need something. I am certain that once they
have a choice between some alt/title hackery and cursor:zoom-in/out,
they'd use the latter as it after all provides better usability than
anything else.

A better case against such cursor values would be that authors would no
longer include the respective information in the document and users
without cursors might lose something, but if such information should be
included in the document, the document language should provide means for

>Incidentally, to me "Click to enlarge" implies a link to the image as
>the only significant content.  Such image links would still require alt
>attributes for people with limited bandwidth or poor vision.  However,
>I would be surprised if moving to a cursor icon would cause the alt
>attribute to be used properly, rather than left out entirely.

Leaving alternate text out is proper use. Just to give an example,

   Blow your mind with a look at your beer
   Blow your mind with a look at your beer

   The average person may not own a powerful microscope or telescope,
   but MolecularExpressions.com introduces visitors to a hidden world
   seldom seen.

But that's probably offtopic here.
Received on Saturday, 7 February 2004 08:33:07 UTC

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