[thelist] In Defense of Fahrner Image Replacement

Peter-Paul Koch gassinaumasis at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 9 06:23:06 CDT 2003

>: Yes, thanks, that was the fallacy I was looking for. Image + text
>: = no problem, so why bother?
>: It's design for design's sake. I thought we'd beaten this
>: particular bugbear years ago.
>I've got to disagree, here.  I think you're missing the point.  From a 
>search engine point of view, <h*> tags weigh very well and while you /can/ 
>style them, that is a *far* cry from real typography.  I hear you already; 
>"print paradigm blah blah", "we're on the web blah blah"...  But if you can 
>have the best of several worlds: accessibility, brilliant typography and an 
>eye towards search engine optimization, what's wrong with that?

"Thou shalt not put text in images". Period. Simple as that.

I admit I'm being very strict and stuffy and un-design-like, but I came to 
the Web in 1998 when nobody had the faintest idea what to do and most texts 
for websites had to be images "because browsers don't support this font". In 
1999 people relented, only all navigation buttons had to be images and text 
was allowed to be text. It took years for designers to understand that 
putting text in an image is never a good idea.

I never EVER want to go through this particular hell again and I'll 
gleefully attack anyone who is misguided enough to put text in images.

>You provide a structure for the image (mind you, I would personally only 
>use this technique for >headings or pullquotes) and then place the image 
>within this semantically correct structure.

For page headers, well, OK...I suppose, every once in a great while. But 
what's wrong with

<img src="hello-world.gif' alt="Hello world">

Alt attribute will replace the image fine, no need for extra hacks.

If you want to use an image it won't be 'semantic', period. If you want to 
be 'semantic', don't use an image.

(All that 'semantics' stuff gets on my nerves, too, BTW. Anyone notices how 
W3C has a propensity to take perfectly good, if somewhat complicated, words, 
and twist their meaning beyond recognition?)

>: More in general, most CSS hacks I see are making things
>: complicated and in-crowdy for sake of making them complicated and
>: in-crowdy. "You don't know Usher's Unadulterated Asterisk
>: Semi-Replacement Hack? Wow, like, what are you doing in web
>: developer's land?"
>Agreed.  I avoid hacks like the plague.  I make CSS designs that work in 
>compliant browsers and don't cater to noncompliant browsers at all.  This 
>works great for me and 95% of my audience.  However, FIR is not a hack.  It 
>is valid use of CSS properties that should be undertaken with an awareness 
>of the caveats.

Agreed, it's not a hack. It's something to be avoided anyway.

ppk, freelance web developer
Interaction, copywriting, JavaScript, integration
Column "Keep it Simple": http://www.digital-web.com/columns/keepitsimple/
New: Browser Wars II: The Saga Continues

Add photos to your e-mail with MSN 8. Get 2 months FREE*. 

More information about the thelist mailing list