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Re: ALT as required attribute

From: Jim Ley <jim@jibbering.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 2003 19:51:34 -0000
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <b1mh4i$39n$1@main.gmane.org>

"Gerard Torenvliet" <g_torenvliet@sympatico.ca> wrote in message
> However, on reflection I've found it to be a good pain because it makes me
> more conscientious.

Which suggests that Mozilla also throwing away CSS would make you even more
conscientious, on ensuring your site was accessible without CSS, that's
clearly silly, the point being Mozilla is a User Agent, and not an authoring
tool.  It shouldn't be used to educate authors, it should be for the benefit
of users.

> Alt text should present text equivalents
> (equivalents only, nothing more than a sighted reader would get through
> looking at a graphic),

Unfortunately you're falling into the common fault, of assuming that ALT is
purely for those who cannot see the image, when it's actually for those who
cannot get the information contained in the image, despite being sighted, I
have many problems understanding iconography, and fail to understand a lot
of images needing the alternative view.  Being sighted doesn't mean I can
understand the meaning in everything I see.

> The real problem here is Internet Explorer. By insisting to be
> backwards-compatible with legacy (but non-standard) uses of the Alt
> attribute and so displaying Alt text as a tooltip if Title text doesn't
> exist, this browser fails to educate designers by example of the different
> between Alt text and Title text.

User Agents should not educate authors, they should serve their users needs,
as a user anything that makes getting at the alt text difficult fails itself
as a user agent to me.

> Rather, it should follow the lead of Mozilla: support the HTML spec, even
> when it can necessitate design changes.

No HTML specification mandates the use of TITLE or ALT as a tooltip or not,
and neither should it.

> Mozilla's way of recognizing
> backwards compatibility issues has been by offering plug-ins that turn on
> the Alt as tooltip behaviour.


Received on Monday, 3 February 2003 14:51:42 UTC

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