[thelist] Re: Accessibility and alt text - quality vs quantity

Toby Mills toby at tobymills.com
Wed Jan 28 05:28:30 CST 2004

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

For my 2 pennies worth, I think that images that convey little or no
information and who's sole purpose is to provide page formatting only need
to be given alt=" ". They are a spacer therefore their description is a
space. Annoyingly W3C states spacers should have alt's but does not say what
they should be.

W3C Says - 
Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element (e.g., via "alt",
"longdesc", or in element content). This includes: images, graphical
representations of text (including symbols), image map regions, animations
(e.g., animated GIFs), applets and programmatic objects, ascii art, frames,
scripts, images used as list bullets, spacers, graphical buttons, sounds
(played with or without user interaction), stand-alone audio files, audio
tracks of video, and video. [Priority 1] 

For example, in HTML: 
Use "alt" for the IMG, INPUT, and APPLET elements, or provide a text
equivalent in the content of the OBJECT and APPLET elements. 
For complex content (e.g., a chart) where the "alt" text does not provide a
complete text equivalent, provide an additional description using, for
example, "longdesc" with IMG or FRAME, a link inside an OBJECT element, or a
description link. 
For image maps, either use the "alt" attribute with AREA, or use the MAP
element with A elements (and other text) as content.

p.s. It's Snowing Here (Glasgow)

toby mills
web developer & programmer



More information about the thelist mailing list