W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > October to December 1998

Re: Two new sites

From: Charles F. Munat <coder@acnet.net>
Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 00:05:01 -0500
Message-ID: <005601bdffd5$0716e5e0$3c1172a7@acnet.net>
To: <kg9ae@geocities.com>
Cc: "Liam Quinn" <liam@htmlhelp.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
>>Charles Munat wrote:
>> On the first point (using alt = Image: Spacer vs. alt = ""), I am open to
>> other suggestions. My original intent was to reassure the non-visual user
>> that the image in question was of no significance. What is the point of
>> Alt=""? Why bother with the alt tag at all?
>David Norris wrote:
>Wouldn't longdesc be more appropriate for this?  (I know the drill,
>don't support it, therefore it is useless.  I disagree with that argument,
>and, no I probably wont change my mind.)  I agree, why bother with the alt
>if it adds no value.  Especially, if it is an annoyance rather than useful.

I agree with you re longdesc, and, in fact, I did use it on all images. But,
because it is not widely supported, I added the alt tag. The question isn't
why add the Alt if it adds no value. If it adds no value, I will remove it.
The question is, does it add value? Would most people visiting the site on
non-visual browsers prefer to know that the image they just passed over
contains no information of value, or would they consent to trust the page
designer that if the Alt attribute is missing or blank, the image is of no
importance? I am not advocating making extra work for myself, annoying
visitors to my sites, or coding for coding's sake.

The site in question is at http://vallartabooks.com.

> Charles Munat wrote:
>> Except, of course, that the
>> Bobby Validator will kick the site out as not approved.
>David Norris wrote:
>So...  Who says that Bobby is always right?  It is very good, but, humans
>are still smarter.  Bobby is simply suggesting that you should check it.
>Bobby is useful for making sure you mean what you say; I wouldn't call it
>the final word.  I would call it a very worthwhile project.
>Also, if it is truly of no significance, why is it even there?  I have to
>say that if the image is truly of no intellectual value, then perhaps it is
>wasting space or possibly cluttering.  Again, possibly not, you must be the
>judge of that.

As far as the Bobby Validator is concerned, it isn't always right and it's
creators are right up front about that. However, should a person who wishes
to fly the Bobby Approved icon be able to decide when Bobby is right, and
when it's okay to ignore it? I don't know, I'll have to ask the people at
CAST about this. Another option, of course, is not to fly the icon. But I
prefer to fly it, even if it means adding Alt="" to my code (or
<noscript></noscript>, because I think it makes people aware that there is
such a thing as accessibility, and that some web sites are accessible and
some aren't. Most people who don't have to deal with this issue remain
blissfully ignorant of it.

Regarding the images in question, most images on the site (address above)
are photos from the book (which is a book of photos). All photos have image
descriptions. The images that are of no intellectual value are these: an
invisible gif used as a spacer, and a blue dot stretched to form a vertical
rule. They are there for page formatting in older browsers and they will not
be removed (that's another subject entirely). Again, the question is, should
it be noted aurally that they are solely there for formatting purposes, or
should they be "silent" images?

Charles Munat
Received on Sunday, 25 October 1998 01:06:45 UTC

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