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Re: Null alt tags for decorative images - Technique H67

From: Michael Gower <michael.gower@ca.ibm.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 2011 09:58:26 -0700
To: "'wai-ig list'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OFFE542B1F.6761C0FF-ON8825793D.005C4717-8825793D.005D3F8B@ca.ibm.com>
It appears this discussion has morphed into another topic. The link/button 
comments are interesting, but I suggest they should be another thread.

In regard to the use of empty strings for image ALTs, I am in agreement 
with a number of users that in many cases images are decorative and offer 
no additional meaning to a page. In such cases, the use of ALT="" is not 
only acceptable but is more desirable than clogging the page with 
irrelevant verbage. Ultimately, whether an image is meaningful or not, and 
what its ALT should be is subjective. In an ideal world, an informed 
content specialist would be making that call in the design stages and 
appropriately marking up the wireframes. Unfortunately, it is often 
developers doing it in a remediation stage.

Michael Gower
IT Advisory Specialist
IBM Global Business Services, Canada
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From:   David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>
To:     "'wai-ig list'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Date:   11/03/2011 12:55 AM
Subject:        Re: Null alt tags for decorative images - Technique H67

Ramón Corominas wrote:
> And not all "decorative" images should be inserted via CSS. For example, 
if the image is a printer icon next to a "print" text, the code of the 
link could be:
> <a href="..." title="Print this page">
> <img src="ico-print.png" alt="" /> Print
> </a>

One problem with this is that it is an abuse of links.  I'm not sure if 
that particular use has gained squatters' rights, but a link is a noun, 
whereas this is a verb, and a title is additional information about what 
the link leads to, not a description of what it does, and certainly not 
a "tooltip".

The button element was introduced in HTML 4 to cover this case, but, 
unfortunately was originally implemented in broken form by IE and had no 
fallback mechanism for older browsers.

I would suggest that, from the point of view of people with congitive 
disabilities, any button that is not a form component will cause 
difficulties.  One of the biggest problems for this class of user, 
including elderly first time users, is working out the design metaphor 
to be able to recognize the logical buttons.

David Woolley
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Received on Thursday, 3 November 2011 17:04:54 UTC

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