Re: ToolTips: bug or feature?

On 7/31/07, Charles McCathieNevile <> wrote:

> > Instead, I suggest precisely the opposite.  HTML 5 should explicitly
> > forbid @alt from being displayed as a tooltip*.  Also, @alt SHOULD not
> > be presented to the user in any way by default when an image is being
> > displayed - in the same manner that a UA doesn't display the contents
> > of <object> if the media is being displayed.  Any other behavior
> > encourages misuse of alternate content by encouraging authors to use
> > @alt as supplemental, not alternate, content.
> I agree that we should say 'user agents SHOULD NOT present alt and title
> in a way that makes it impossible to distinguish them'. Anything more is,
> I think, overly restrictive (and we would ignore it in practice). Anything
> less is avoiding the problem.
> > * There is one exception to this...
> Actually there are several. But one is enough to make me think we should
> clarify the reasoning, make the recommendation, and be done. (While we are
> at it we could remove the statement that title can be a description, or
> edit it to make sense, but that is already another thread).

The point is *advisory* or *supplemental* vs. *alternate*.  When the
most popular UA presents *alternate* content as *supplemental*
content, then authors begin to put *supplemental* content where
*alternate* content is supposed to go to the detriment of

The "exception" I raised was a case where the browser displays @alt as
a tooltip, but the point was that it is still being used as
*alternate* content.  I'm less concerned about the definition of
"tooltip" or how the content is presented.  I'm more concerned about
the UA using @alt as an *alternate* and @title as *supplemental* in a
way that encourages authors to follow the correct semantics.

Jason White <> wrote:
> "The alt attribute does not represent advisory information. User agents
> must not present the contents of the alt attribute in the same way as
> content of the title attribute."

Could there be a better wording?  Such as:

Users agents, by default, must not present the contents of the alt
attribute as advisory information in addition to the image.  User
agents may present the contents of the title attribute as advisory
information using a visual tooltip or another method.

I don't know if that's better, but trying to clarify the *advisory*
vs. *alternate* point.

Jon Barnett

Received on Tuesday, 31 July 2007 14:00:42 UTC