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Re: Alt is not a description (was Re: when to use longdesc for images)

From: David Dorward <david@dorward.me.uk>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 13:42:02 +0000
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <20041221134202.GF18182@us-lot.org>

On Tue, Dec 21, 2004 at 07:52:52AM -0500, Matthew J. Giustino wrote:
> 1) How exactly are you meaning that "alt" is a replacement?

In that it is the content users get instead of the image, and should
therefore replace the image (which may not describe it).

The prose suggests giving a description of images which are
decorative. Why? What benefit does it bring to users to know that
there is a "Drawing of a house" somewhere in a document if they cannot
see it and the only purpose of the image is to _look_ nice?
> 2)The second example of that page;
> <A HREF="home.htm"><IMG SRC="home.gif" ALT="Link to the Home page."></A>
> Yes your browser would know that the image is a link. "alt" is merely 
> being used to "describe" where the link will bring you.

Scratch "merely", it is also telling the user that the link is a link
- which they already know.

There is nothing special about images in links. The alt text should be
a suitable replacement for the image, and both the image and its
alternative should (independently) "Clearly identify the target of
[the] link" (Checkpoint 13.1)

> Which is a clear example of how "alt" is a description.

It isn't a description of the image.

David Dorward                                      http://dorward.me.uk
Received on Tuesday, 21 December 2004 13:42:04 UTC

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