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RE: Two new sites

From: David Norris <kg9ae@geocities.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 02:52:56 -0500
To: "Charles F. Munat" <coder@acnet.net>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000601bdffec$7a2ee3e0$93d628cf@KG9AE.illusionary.dyn.ml.org>
> 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.

Sounds like a reasonable idea.  I try to use longdesc and alt as they are
described in the specs.  alt would be best used to present alternative
content(Why wasn't it <IMG></IMG> to begin with?), not to describe the
image.  Since your 'invisible spacer' has no visible meaning, then there
would be no parallel in text.

> 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?

Well, that is an interesting question.  The answer is almost as elusive as
the question.

> 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
> 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.

Probably not.

> Another option, of course, is not to fly the icon.

This is the option I choose.  Bobby isn't perfect, that is a given.  If the
icon's message is to further accessibility, then I don't believe they should
require your document to be perfect, according to Bobby, in order to show
the icon.  (Rating system perhaps, although it would be complex.)  If the
message is to promote Bobby, then they can do what they will.

> 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.

And, many are happy to remain blissfully ignorant.  They should probably be
able to stay blissfully ignorant if we manage to do a good job.
Unfortunately, we are still far from that time.

> rule. They are there for page formatting in older browsers and
> they will not
> be removed (that's another subject entirely).

Yes, can be a sticky situation.  Hopefully, in the future those sorts of
problems will begin to dissolve.

> it be noted aurally that they are solely there for formatting purposes, or
> should they be "silent" images?

I would say silent.  That's my opinion, though.  Also, it seems to me that
stating, in the ALT text, that <IMG> is an image is a bit redundant.  Many
of the speech browsers, that I have used, will state that it is reading text
from an image.  For example, your alt text might read like "Image, Image,
This image is nifty."

,David Norris

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Received on Sunday, 25 October 1998 02:53:10 UTC

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