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Re: Alt tag required for horizontal dividing bar

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 21:32:24 +0200 (EET)
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.50.0302072114060.6857-100000@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Fri, 7 Feb 2003, Doug McCrae wrote:

> What would be the appropriate alt for the two grey horizontal bars on
> the page http://www.gla.ac.uk/adulteducation/ ?

For the first, alt="".
For the second, alt=
"End of page content proper. Contact information follows."

If we only cared about visual presentation when images are not
displayed, a string of underlines or hyphens would do fine,
since it would simulate the bars. But in speech or Braille
presentation, that would be awful. And we should think more about
those people who must use non-visual browsers than people who just
turn off images for convenience.

Contrary to what some comments have said, the bars are not purely
decorative but relevant dividers. For the first one, alt="" is suitable
since there's no reason to add stuff that makes it even slower to get to
actual content (in e.g. speech presentation). But the second one acts as
an important signal in graphic display, and a functionally equivalent
signal should be given.

On the other hand, using <hr> would be somewhat more logical, though I
don't know how many speech browsers actually apply the suggestion (in HTML
specs) of rendering <hr> as a pause.

Yet another possibility is to use a style sheet to suggest a border, as
mentioned in the discussion. I have been a proponent of that approach, but
in fact it has the drawback that the essential division of the document
into parts is not indicated in a reliable manner. On the other hand,
the approach could be combined with the use of <hr>.

Some related notes, including an example of combining CSS and <hr>:

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Friday, 7 February 2003 14:32:27 UTC

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