[thelist] alt tags on all images (was Site Check)

jay.blanchard at thermon.com jay.blanchard at thermon.com
Wed Nov 7 12:35:03 CST 2001

alt="" is a nasty hack, and by using it, a designer is saying "this image
doesn't need alt text" - isn't it a fallacy to say that this is okay, and
yet it's not okay to leave the alt off altogether? The result is exactly
the same.

May be a nasty hack, but the image does not need alt text for whatever 
reason. Images with a blank alt attribute are skipped by text-to-speech, 
WAP, and browsers who have images turned off. The alt attribute is 
encouraged by W3C requirement, and given the accessibility issues which are 
gaining more and more steam every day is it any more hair off of my back to 
include an empty attribute? Closing tags (in XHTML) will probably get the 
same response as alt attributes...

<snip #2>
In many cases, I believe that being forced to use alt text diminishes a
site's accessibility.

How can "being forced" to use the alt attribute diminish a site's 
accessibility? I am missing your logic here completely.

<snip #3>
alt text belongs on most images; the notion that including it is *always*
better for accessibility is simply not true, however - we should be able to
choose which "images" do and do not appear to users of non-graphical browsers.

And how does the alt attribute keep you from choosing which images do or do 
not appear to users of non-graphical browsers?

I recently met a guy who wanted to be compliant with everything, so he put 
alt="blank" in each and every transparent GIF, background image, etc.! I 
"played" his site for him in a text-to-speech browser. It was pretty funny, 
and the reaction he had was priceless! It was as if the site were cursing! :)

Jay Blanchard

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