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RE: ALT-attribute usage (fwd)

From: MegaZone <megazone@livingston.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 22:47:02 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <199710230547.WAA19278@server.livingston.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Once upon a time Gregg Vanderheiden shaped the electrons to say...
>ALT = short description of the FUNCTION 
>LONGDESC = (long) description of the IMAGE 
>For example a bullet shaped like an arrow would have alt text  "bullet"   not "yellow arrow pointing right"

No - that is one of the most annoying, worst uses of ALT on the web.

How do you thing it looks?

bullet product one
bullet product two
bullet product three

Or sounds?

You should not use ALT text to describe the image.  Describe the meaning
of the image, and if it is decoration, use null text - ALT=""

Real world - one of the folks here used little red ball gifs for marketing
page.  They made the alt text 'Red Ball'.

I got a frustrated letter from a user who spent a long time trying to find
our product - the "Red Ball Office Router".

Because THAT is what lynx showed him!  "Bullett Office Router" wouldn't
be much of an improvement.  Remember lots of people don't even know those
little shapes in front of a list are called bulletts in the first place.

Another groaner - we had an add which had "We have one thing to say about
K56flex modem upgrades..."  (or words like that) and then a typical
marketing image of a woman's lips whispering into a man's ear with "FREE"
in the middle.

The marketing folks made the ALT text say "Mouth" - to describe the image.
That sounds really stupid in Lynx...  I caught it. :-)

>An Image button for search would say  "search"   Not  "Magnifying Glass with Search on it"  or "magnifying glass"

Right - describe the function of the button if it has real meaning.  If
it is just decoration, null it out.

Livingston Enterprises - Chair, Department of Interstitial Affairs
Phone: 800-458-9966 510-737-2100 FAX: 510-737-2110 megazone@livingston.com
For support requests: support@livingston.com  <http://www.livingston.com/> 
Snail mail: 4464 Willow Road, Pleasanton, CA 94588
Received on Thursday, 23 October 1997 01:53:42 UTC

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