RE: nbsp ok for decorative alt?

<p>The question in my mind is how screen readers will handle a
non-breaking space character in an alt attribute when an image appears
inline surrounded by text. Will it break the reading <img
src="clear.gif" alt="&nbsp;"> order, for example?</p> 

I know JAWS isn't the measure of all things screen reader. But in the
example above, JAWS says "graphic" between the words "reading" and

If other screen readers do the same thing, then alt=&nbsp;" fails 1.1.1
because it doesn't cause assistive technology to ignore the non text


"Good design is accessible design." 
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


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Jim Thatcher
Sent: Monday, April 10, 2006 11:55 am
To: 'Michael Cooper';
Subject: RE: nbsp ok for decorative alt?

Michael cooper said:
no negative effect that I know of

How about fact that it appears visually as [] on mouse over in IE?

It is a simple mathematical fact that alt=" " is not empty. It is a
sting of length one consisting of the space character. So, repeating, it
is not empty alt-text. It is not null alt-text. It is alt-text
consisting of one character and should not be a recommended technique in
the case you want empty alt text. It is sloppy thinking!

However that does not stop someone from enhancing their text view by
using alt=" " as Michael suggests. In other words it is ok to use alt="
" if you have a reason for doing so but should not be recommended for
"empty or null alt-text."

Oh well, I do have a thing about the importance of alt=""!

Accessibility Consulting:

Received on Monday, 10 April 2006 17:45:18 UTC