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Re: alt tags no with a twist

From: John T. Whelan <whelan@physics.utah.edu>
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 1998 13:10:26 -0600
Message-Id: <199808181910.NAA22528@einstein.physics.utah.edu>
To: poehlman@clark.net, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
>Below is a snippet of conversation I'm having with a webmaster concerning
>alt tags.  Is there away around the following problem while still using
>alt tags or any thoughts?

>"There are some images on the site which do not contain alt tags.  These
>are usually called either bd.gif or td.gif.  These are simple spacers used
>for page layout and should not have alt tags.  If they did, the page would
>pop up with little blank squares as your mouse moved over it on browsers
>like IE 4 or Navigator 4."

	On the flipside, if you have no ALT tag, Lynx users get
[IMAGE], telling them there's an image there, but not what its purpose
is.  If you include ALT="", the image disappears completely from the
Lynx display, which is appropriate for an image that carries no
content.  (ALT=" " and ALT="&nbsp;" may also be reasonable choices,
depending on the spacing effect in question.)  Don't lead your
text-based users to believe they're missing something when they're
really not.  Similarly, if NS or IE users have image loading turned
off, that little blank box is telling them not to bother loading the
image, as it doesn't mean anything.  (And at any rate a little blank
box seems like less of a problem that giving some users the false
impression that they're not getting all the content.)

	I am, of course, ignoring the unpleasantness of using GIFs for
layout in the first place.
		                         John Whelan, Cornell '91

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Received on Tuesday, 18 August 1998 15:10:12 UTC

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