[thelist] alt tags

.jeff jeff at members.evolt.org
Wed Jul 24 04:42:01 CDT 2002


> From: Chris Price
> > From: James Aylard
> > ...    Use alt text where it is appropriate. Use an
> > empty alt attribute (e.g., alt="") where no alt text
> > is needed.
> According to the RNIB you should use alt="*" where the
> image is used purely for layout purposes and for long
> descriptions use LONGDESC.
> ref: http://www.rnib.org.uk/digital/hints.htm under the
> subtitle:Images

i'm afraid i have to disagree with rnib on this one.  using an empty alt attribute is far superior as the screen reader will skip over it entirely.  by using an asterisk there could be some confusion between an image used for layout and an image used as a bullet.  additionally, if your design has a top table row with spacer shims and they all have an alt attribute value of "*" then the user has to endure something like:

  "asterisk, asterisk, asterisk, asterisk,
   asterisk, asterisk, asterisk, asterisk,
   logo for foo, asterisk, asterisk,

what a nightmare.  using empty alt attributes the bit above would be reduced to:

  "logo for foo, ..."

i see no reason to bother the user with imagery that's there only for design purposes and does nothing for non-visual users.


jeff at members.evolt.org

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