W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-validator@w3.org > January 2000

Re: robot did not remark on ALTs

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 17:35:10 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: Jim Nagel <jim.nagel@UKonline.co.uk>
Cc: www-validator@w3.org
At 05:00 PM 1/20/2000 , Jim Nagel wrote:
>i am one of those people who prefer to browse
>with graphics switched off -- slow phone lines
>over here, and expensive.  at this site, i saw
>nothing but blank rectangles, little ones that
>were obviously buttons, but the labels had not
>yet shown because they were graphics, no text.
>i always thought HTML rules demanded ALT tags
>with each graphic: a word or two of plain text.

Hello, Jim!  I'm not the W3C, just someone on the HTML
validator list, but I felt I could address your questions.

You are correct that HTML does indeed demand ALT text (which
are more accurately called "attributes" than the more common
"tag" label), and it has since HTML 4.0 became a W3C
Recommendation in 1997.  (Previous versions, such as 3.2,
did not require but strongly recommented ALT.)

>so i was surprised that your robot's report did
>not mention the lack of alt tags.
>i note, by the way, that the pages in question
>were generated by Microsoft Frontpage software.

I checked this with the validator as well as a visual
inspection.  The page that loads is actually a "frameset"
page, one that sets up the structure for the top frame with
the navigation buttons, and the bottom frame with the content.

This means that the actual IMG tags are not actually within the
page that's tested, but within one of the sub-frames.  (This
may not be obvious to someone who hasn't worked with frames

The page with the main content is at:


The validator does indeed complain that the ALT text is missing.

>am i right in feeling rude the remark near the
>bottom of http://www.theoldoaks.co.uk/header.html ?

I'm not sure which remark you mean, but I agree that in general,
web sites which are unfriendly to those without graphical browsers
(as this one is from their "noframes" section alone) are rather

>what if i were blind and depended on software that
>reads web text out loud for me?

If you were blind, you would probably have problems using this site
to its fullest.  Unfortunately that's the case for many of the
web sites out there.

Fortunately, though, there are some people (myself included) who
are working to correct this problem by education web authors.
Here's some links that might be of help:

   http://aware.hwg.org/      HTML Writers Guild's Accessible Web
                              Authoring Resources & Education Center
   http://www.cast.org/bobby/ Center for Applied Special Technology's
                              "Bobby" program, similiar to the W3C
                              validator but checks for accessibility
   http://www.w3.org/WAI/     W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative has
                              standards on making web sites accessible

>your comments would be interesting!  i have a 
>column to write!

If you need any help with validation or web accessibility, you can
write to me on or off the list; I'm glad to help anyone interested
in this topic.

--Kynn Bartlett

Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                   http://www.kynn.com/
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet      http://www.idyllmtn.com/
Become AWARE of Web Accessibility!                  http://aware.hwg.org/
The Spring 2000 Virtual Dog Show is now open!     http://www.dogshow.com/
Received on Thursday, 20 January 2000 20:40:46 UTC

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