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Re: when to use longdesc for images (was RE: Short and long descriptions for links)

From: Matthew J. Giustino <mjg@giustiweb.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 07:01:35 -0500
Message-ID: <41C8109F.5090104@giustiweb.com>
To: Patrick Lauke <P.H.Lauke@salford.ac.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
I totally agree with Patrick.

I would also like to add that you also have the "alt" attribute (alt; 
Defines a _short _description of the image)  available to you.

Matthew J. Giustino

Patrick Lauke wrote:

>From: John Colby [mailto:John.Colby@uce.ac.uk]
>>I'm trying to rationalise which type of images (with the
>>exception of graphs and visual data presentation) that need
>>a longdesc without sighted readers also needing that description
>>available. Graphs and data images (my term), being the visual
>>interpretation of some data - do they need to be described or
>>does the data need to be stated? I can think of instances where
>>either one or both would be suitable.
>This probably depends heavily on the context, the purpose of the
>site, and the purpose of the images themselves. Two examples:
>- a web hosting site, with your generic "businessman with laptop" or
>"handshake" images, probably do not need longdesc...it's not the fact
>that it's the businessman with the laptop that's important here, it's
>just generic visual fluff (although yes, some could argue that there is
>a certain "emotional response" or similar triggered by the image, and
>one could try to convey that in non-visual ways somehow...but usually
>I'd suggest adding that in the normal copy as well - if, for instance,
>you're using the image to portray the company as "dynamic and mobile",
>this should feature in the body of the text as well...making it
>unnecessary to add this non-visual information any additional way)
>- an online art photography site, where you have a gallery of famous
>photos; here, the images themselves will probably need to be 
>"longdescribed": they're not just decoration, they *are* content, and it
>is important that visitors "get" this content
>Hope this made some kind of sense. Of course, there will be borderline
>cases and blatant exceptions...it's mostly a judgement call that you need
>to make, based on what purpose your images serve within the overall
>purpose of your site.
>Patrick H. Lauke
>Webmaster / University of Salford
Received on Tuesday, 21 December 2004 12:01:58 UTC

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