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RE: [techs] text euiqvalents in links

From: Michael Cooper <michaelc@watchfire.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004 10:23:18 -0500
Message-ID: <D9ABD8212AFB094C855045AD80FB40DD033FB6BF@1wfmail.watchfire.com>
To: WAI GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

I think the case John is talking about happens most often when authors want
a little graphical thing beside a link. For instance:

<a href="next.html"><img src="arrow.gif" alt="Next page"></a>
<a href="next.html">Next page</a>

Visually, this creates a little arrow beside your link and reinforces it.
But for non-graphical browsers it does result in two links to the same
destination with the same link text, and I think it would be terrifically

Our techinques would require that there be alt text for the image in the
first link because that link needs its destination explained, so you can't
put in null alt text and hope that fixes the problem. The better solution
is, as John said, to put both the image and the text in the same link, then
set the image to null alt text, e.g., 

<a href="next.html"><img src="arrow.gif" alt=""> Next page</a>

The problem with this for graphical designers is that the hyperlink
underline will be there between the image and the text, and they don't like
the look. The best solution I know to that issue is to build whitespace
padding into the image, then not to put a space between the image and the
rest of the text in the link.

It does seem to me that in principle user agents could detect this type of
duplicate link and only present it once, as Chris suggests. But really
that's a correction for author misbehaviour, and I'd rather see the
guideline imposed on the author rather than the user agent in this case.
This kind of duplicate link creates all kinds of messiness on pages which
authors should be encouraged to avoid.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chris Ridpath [mailto:chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca]
> Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2004 10:01 AM
> To: John M Slatin; WAI GL
> Subject: Re: [techs] text euiqvalents in links
> Is this a user agent issue? Should the screen readers be 
> smart enough to
> avoid repeating duplicate link text?
> If we tell authors to not repeat link text in the ALT or 
> TITLE is this for
> all links or just when there are a large number of them?
> Chris
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "John M Slatin" <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
> To: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@w3.org>; "WAI GL" 
> <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
> Sent: Monday, March 29, 2004 5:36 PM
> Subject: RE: [techs] text euiqvalents in links
> >
> > I tend to prefer putting both the <img> and the text inside 
> the anchor
> > and setting alt="".  This is the best way I've found for 
> avoiding the
> > unnecessary repetion of link text in a screen reader.  
> (Chris notes that
> > some of the methods he lists make the link audible "only 
> twice."  That
> > "only" is fine for pages that have only one or two such 
> links; but if
> > there are 20 or 30 of them the repetition becomes really 
> burdensome-- it
> > can double the length of time quired to listen to the page.
> >
> > John
> >
Received on Tuesday, 30 March 2004 10:22:54 UTC

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