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Inline link icons

From: fstorr <fffrancis@fstorr.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2005 20:43:41 +0100
Message-Id: <CE034BD1-710E-457E-801A-9FC64E9B0CB2@fstorr.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Hi all

My company is using the services of an external usability company and  
are making a recommendation to use small inline icons within <a> tags  
when linking to Office/PDF documents.   They are also recommending  
that all such links open in a new window.  For example, if a link  
went to a Word document, the content in-between the start and end <a>  
tags would consist of a description of the link followed by a small  
Word icon at the end of the text.

This, to me, seems inherently inaccessible as the icon cannot scale  
with the user's font preference - they'll be left with very large  
text and a tiny icon.  Visually it will also make the text harder to  
read with tiny icons appearing everywhere.  Their argument is that  
the icon would contain alt text to make it accessible, but that's  
fine for blind users but not for those who aren't but just need some  
very large content.  I'm also not happy with their "all such content  
should open in a new window" as their link recommendations make no  
reference of informing the user that that's about to happen.  All in  
all it seems a bit flakey and yet I feel that my colleagues are going  
to take their side (as this company are the 'experts').

Can someone/people either allay my fears or point me in the direction  
of some good, concrete research that will help me reject their  

Kind regards

F Storr
Received on Wednesday, 20 July 2005 19:43:53 UTC

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