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Re: Null alt tags for decorative images - Technique H67

From: Patrick H. Lauke <redux@splintered.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 02 Nov 2011 21:57:05 +0000
Message-ID: <4EB1BCB1.4010307@splintered.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
On 02/11/2011 21:14, Userite wrote:
> I am having real problems with a client who insist that certain images
> are decorative and can therefore be given a null alt tag as per H67. I
> can accept that a squiggly line or fancy text box border is decorative,
> but not a largish picture of a building (no particular building, just a
> museum type facade).

So what's the purpose of the image? To just look pretty and add some 
visual interest? In that case, I'd say an empty alt *attribute* is fair 
enough (others will argue against it, but that's what you get) as long 
as the text also reflects the same "tone" that the image is trying to 

> I really think that it is time to remove H67 as a technique, either a
> non-text item such as an image should have a text equivalent, or it
> should not be imported by HTML but be treated as styling and imported
> via CSS so that it is totally ignored by screen readers etc. This way
> there is no need for subjective discussions.

All you'd get then is designers and developers avoiding any and all 
accessibility discussion by simply making ALL their images CSS-based and 
only having lots of empty divs and spans in their page where they then 
insert images via stylesheet...

Patrick H. Lauke
re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
[latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]

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Received on Wednesday, 2 November 2011 21:57:51 UTC

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