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ferreting out the meaning of horizontal rules [was: RE: Bobby inaccuracy?]

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2002 13:11:30 -0500
Message-Id: <200201151811.NAA3978930@smtp2.mail.iamworld.net>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
At 09:08 AM 2002-01-15, Julian Scarlett wrote:
> The second alt text which you say is not meaningful is associated with an
> image that conveys no meaning and is just designed (not by me and for paper
> media)to look pretty
> <img src="img/grad_lft.jpg" width="100%" height="5" alt="">


Please don't assume that the horizontal rule is content-free.  They rarely
are.  This one isn't.  It is visual punctuation and it cues major breakpoints
in the structure.  

The structure here is very conventional 

1. Head
1.1 Identification -- 'headline'
[a rule here]
1.2 Functions -- 'services'
2. Body
2.1 Navbar -- 'contents'
2.2 Body -- 'story, main content'
[a rule here]
3. Foot

[Other friendly labels to the site's taste are substitutable.]

The rule is used at the first level of decomposition to set off the foot and at
the second level of decomposition to divide the Identification from the
Functions within the Head.

Both times it appears it is at a major shift point in the kind of content

text for orientation at the first occurrence might be 

  (headline/functions break)

text for orientation at the second occurrence might be

  (begin footer)

The parentheses are intended to be included.  Parentheses connote asides which
is what you need to get across when the system breaks in over the content

Techniques for the technical design of this page that you might consider
(asuming that you are shooting for AAA) include: use THEAD to group the header
section in the formal table structure.  This includes the first three rows in
the current structure.  Could one use two rows and insert the graded bar by
style application?.

Orienting the user well to the functional blocks before and after the break is
another approach to achieving the same end as using the break to introduce

ALT text gives you an opportunity to mirror the function of an image.  The
point here is that to grasp the functional role of this image, you have to look
at the visual context and logical flow around the image, not just inside it.


>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Charles McCathieNevile
>> Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2002 1:55 PM
>> To: Scarlett Julian (ED)
>> Cc: 'David Poehlman'; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
>> Subject: RE: Bobby inaccuracy?
>> Hi Julian,
>> in my humble opinion, alt="Sheffield City Council" does 
>> everything necessary.
>> The fact that something is a link is indicated by almost 
>> every browser, since
>> it is a basic feature of the Web. (There are a couple of 
>> development versions
>> of obscure browsers that don't identify links, but it is 
>> genuinely difficult
>> to find them. I know of one, among about 50 browsers, and I would be
>> surprised if anyone else managed to come up with it).
>> The fact that it is a logo is obvious to people who are 
>> looking at it, but it
>> really just gives a name (way to identify a concept or 
>> object) in graphic
>> form. In text form that is achieved by the name "Sheffield 
>> City Council". You
>> might want to use title="Sheffield City Council Logo" - 
>> that's what this
>> object in the page is.
>> You might even want to describe the logo via a longdesc. Then 
>> i can use iCab
>> to get at the description when I am using it in speech mode, 
>> and afterwards
>> might recognise the thing that was described, when I am 
>> browsing in visual
>> mode, or be able to describe it to someone looking in a book 
>> of council
>> logos. Or I might not bother - it might be clear enough anyway.
>> Cheers
>> Chaals
>> On Tue, 15 Jan 2002, Scarlett Julian (ED) wrote:
>>   Aaahhhh, now it's all crystal.
>>   Why does the word logo carry no meaning? Most people, 
>> sighted or not, know
>>   what a logo is. I actually thought that
>>   alt="Sheffield City Council Logo -  hyperlink to Sheffield 
>> City Council home
>>   page" was good because it a) gave an indication of the 
>> purpose of the image
>>   itself and b) gave an indication of it's function as a link.
>>   Would, IYHO, alt="link to Sheffield City Council home page" 
>> be better?
>>   Julian
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Received on Tuesday, 15 January 2002 13:11:40 UTC

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