Re: ToolTips: bug or feature?

At 09:52 -0400 UTC, on 2007-07-29, Gregory J. Rosmaita wrote:

> lachlan wrote, quote:
>> The alt attribute is only rendered as a tooltip in IE, and
>> that's considered a bug for a variety of reasons. See this article.
> unquote
> i find hixie's arguments, decidedly unconvincing.  there ARE valid
> reasons why @alt and @title should be exposed to the user


> onMouseOver

Disagreed :) How @alt is presented is up to the UA. A tooltip is nothing more
than one possible implementation[*]. If that implementation satisfies the
need for @alt as defined in the spec, that's fine. When it doesn't, the
implementation is broken. @alt marks not a tooltip, it marks a textual
equivalent. That's all.

[*] Lynx and iCab for Mac OS 9 for instance provide access to @alt, but not
through tooltips.

> -- as i indicated, what you perceive as a logical icon
> may not be understood by a sighted visitor from a vastly different
> culture, so a tooltip exposition of ALT text is actually beneficial
> to users of all stripes.

Providing easy access to the equivalent is beneficial. Whether that is done
through mechanism x or y is irrelevant, as long as it gets the job done.

> in the end, all hixie really addressed is
> author complaints

Well, I wouldn't dismiss the usability/accessibility problems he notes. But
yes, the article is about broken implementations (in UAs), not about the alt
attribute (in the HTML spec).

Sander Tekelenburg
The Web Repair Initiative: <>

Received on Monday, 30 July 2007 02:00:04 UTC