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RE: ALT-attribute usage (fwd)

From: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 1997 07:47:19 -0500 (EST)
To: Gregg Vanderheiden <po@trace.wisc.edu>
cc: "'Charles (Chuck) Oppermann'" <chuckop@MICROSOFT.com>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.3.96.971105074405.28184D-100000@clark.net>
alt is short for alternative and in this case, it is an alternative to
image and usually stands for the image as in Chuck's description.  I
suggest that title be used as a title.  this would be less confusing.  it
should be pointed out that if the image serves a function than alt should
state it but it should also be obvious in some way that a picture is being
replaced with text.  let a d or description link or page stand for
describing in minute detail if desired the image.

On Tue, 4 Nov 1997, Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:

> Chuck you wrote:
> My point is that ALT is needed to give a *description* of the image.  In 
> this example, that could be ALT="spinning red globe".  With the advent of 
> TITLE, we can go back to using ALT for it's original intention.
> I see your point with regard to TITLE.  If it is used to express the 
> function then alt could be used for description.
> However, if browsers are looking for function in the ALT  then function 
> still needs to be there.  At least for foreseeable future.
> Question:  if there is an alt and a title,   which appears on screen 
> instead of the graphic?  I thought it was ALT.  Does it vary?
> By the way. A bit of history.  I believe the original intention of ALT was 
> for function though it is hard to say since it was used both ways.  It was 
> introduced by the same group (in Kansas) that developed lynx and dos-lynx 
> if I am remembering my conversation with them correctly from many years 
> ago.  It was introduced to make pages make sense in lynx when the images 
> are not there - as they never are in lynx.  Lynx users were generally less 
> interested in what the images looked like than what they represented or 
> were there to signify.   Decorative images however did get a descriptive 
> ALT  (or they got ALT="").
> Anyway.  Back to the present.
> - Does anyone know when there is an alt and a title,   which appears on 
> screen instead of the graphic?
> - Should we be making a recommendation on this?
> - Should our recommendation take into account the fact that TITLE is 
> possible now?
> - Will people do both - or are we likely to only see ALT?
> - If we did use ALT as the primary FUNCTION description -(because function 
> is the most important attribute and ALT is the most likely to be used) then 
> what would be the best use of TITLE?
> - If title is not used for function, then is this counterintuitive for the 
> use of TITLE in other places for function?
> Wish I had as many answers as questions.
> Gregg
> -- ------------------------------
> Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D.
> Professor - Human Factors
> Dept of Ind. Engr. - U of Wis.
> Director - Trace R & D Center
> gv@trace.wisc.edu    http://trace.wisc.edu
> FAX 608/262-8848
> For a list of our listserves send "lists" to listproc@trace.wisc.edu

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Received on Wednesday, 5 November 1997 07:47:39 UTC

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