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RE: [techs] text euiqvalents in links

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004 09:30:17 -0600
Message-ID: <C46A1118E0262B47BD5C202DA2490D1A0183AD24@MAIL02.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "Michael Cooper" <michaelc@watchfire.com>, "WAI GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Thanks, Michael.  Yes, you're outlined the situation I'm thinking of.
For an example, see http://www.utexas.edu.  The links under Spotlights
and News are duplicated in this way; the duplicaiton is forced, in part,
by the fact that the page is laid out with tables, with the graphical
image and the text in adjacent cells.  The anchor can't bridge the
cells, and of course they can't put empty alt on a graphical link; the
alt text and the screen text have to replicate each other to avoid
having links with different text point to the identical target; In other
words, they've tried hard to do the right thing; the initial decision to
go with layout tables led to the impasse.  And they made *that* decision
because, at the time (late 2001-2002), support for CSS positioning was
even spottier than it is now.  Ripple effects...


"Good design is accessible design." 
Please note our new name and URL!
John Slatin, Ph.D.
Director, Accessibility Institute
University of Texas at Austin
FAC 248C
1 University Station G9600
Austin, TX 78712
ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Michael Cooper
Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2004 9:23 am
Subject: RE: [techs] text euiqvalents in links

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 annoying. 

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 10:31:01 UTC

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