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Thread: Alt Attribute?

  1. #1
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    Question Alt Attribute?

    First of all, why the heck is alt necessary? I mean, who is it that still uses a browser that can't display .gif's and .jpg's? I want to know who is still running off of IE Beta 0.00.0.001? I can understand that it's needed for Brail computations...but honestly!

    Ok, now for the real question:

    I have an image of an commercial office building. What the heck do I put for the alt? I mean, it has no words that if it WERE to not display that could accuratley describe what is going on without mixing the description in with the text surrounding the image! If anyone has any suggestions of what I should put for a no-text image, lemme know!

    -Ben

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    From my understanding the alts are used by text readers and people that have images turned off in thier browser.

    For that alt, I would just use something like "Commercial Office Building picture"...

    MNS

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    "turn on the images!" or "free porn!" should also be quite good
    photoshop too expensive? use the GIMP! www.gimp.org

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    Basically, if your image is not part of the content on the page (in other words, it's just decoration) you should probably use the imageless-image technique. Make a div that is given a background through CSS and have that div take the <img> tag's place. This way non-css browsers and non-image browsers will never even know about the image.

    A good discussion is/was going on about this here.
    My Site {Mike's Adventures}

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    That sounds like a good idea...but I only have to *little* problems with "imageless images":

    1)The image is actually the start of a slideshow. The Slide show consists of 3 parts: a header of Javascript that contains pic info; a body part that has an img with "pixelation" information, and a third part contains the rest of the code that is called for. I'm not sure if it would still work...would it?

    2)I don't know how to do that coding. Could you provide it to me?

    Thanks!

    -Ben

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    Re: Alt Attribute?

    Originally posted by Ben@WEBProp
    First of all, why the heck is alt necessary? I mean, who is it that still uses a browser that can't display .gif's and .jpg's? I want to know who is still running off of IE Beta 0.00.0.001?
    Desktop computers aren't the only means of accessing the internet.

    Moderator: General web building

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    Oh ya...
    Ok, so the more I think about it, the more I realize that although PDA and other non-desktop internet connections are new (and fairly un-utilized) technology, there is a good chance that several of the people who would need to view the content of this site that I am building would have the money and technological know-how to access the page mobil-y...or however that is said...

    Do you know anywhere that I can find how to do "imageless"-images?

    Thanks!

    -Ben

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    Originally posted by Ben@WEBProp
    Do you know anywhere that I can find how to do "imageless"-images?
    using imageless-images

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    If you go with an ordinary image and it's purely decorative you use an empty alt attribute. Then it will be invisible (or silent) to devices and readers that make use of alt. They'll just skip it.

    <img src="building.jpg" alt="">
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    Originally posted by meow
    Then it will be invisible (or silent) to devices and readers that make use of alt. They'll just skip it.
    Except that isn't what happens .. JAWS, the most commonly used screenreader by far, still pronounces the SRC of images with null ALT text; that's arguably wrong, but it happens.

    If you want decorative images to be truly silent you have to do the CSS thing.
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

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    So when JAWS is popping out brail like it's cotton candy, what is it that the user reads? For Example, if I had
    "Look at <img src="bob.gif" alt=""> Bob!"
    in my script, Jaws would type out in brail "Look at <img src="bob.gif" alt=""> Bob!", or would it type
    "Look at "" Bob!"
    ?????? ??????

    What if I have "Look at <img src="bob.gif" alt="Pic of Bob"> Bob!"
    Would it then have ""Look at Pic Of Bob Bob!"???

    I dont get it!

    -Ben

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    "Look at <img src="bob.gif" alt=""> Bob!"

    would be read out as

    "Look at bob.gif Bob!"
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark

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    Oh, gotcha!
    So, what if you put alt=" " or some ASCII character that represents a space? wouldn't that fix the problem? I mean it would read
    Look at Bob
    with 2 or 3 spaces....


    Would that work?

    -Ben

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    My friend's Jaws doesn't do that if she doesn't tell it to do so. What version has that bug? I tried google but didn't have any luck. Have a link to info about it?

    No, a space is not recommended.

    Why is this thread in Graphics btw?
    Last edited by meow; 07-19-2003 at 08:14 AM.
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    Originally posted by meow
    My friend's Jaws doesn't do that if she doesn't tell it to do so.
    No ... nobody's does if you program it not to .. but by default it does, and since the default is the only thing you can play to ....

    But ... now I come to check ... it's behaving differently. When I ran it on Win 2K it was reading the SRC of images with null, no or whitespace ALT text ... but now I try it on Win XP it only reads out defined ALT text - null or no alt text is ignored!

    I don't know ... that's not the first time I've seen it behave differently on 2K than it does on XP ... duh! It's so difficult ... whenever you start coding to the behaviors of a particular user-agent.

    Joe Clark has an interesting, and in my view entirely rational, response to situations like this - what he says (i'm paraphrasing here) is that if you as a developer have done the right thing in the right way, and along comes a user-agent which disrespects the standard, then you are not responsible.

    So I think that applies here - null ALT text has valid semantics, so basically screw what JAWS may or may not do with that, use it correctly and don't worry about it - maybe JAWS users who habitually find this issue have changed it themselves, like meow's friend. And remember that accessibility is not just about disabled people; it's about everyone.

    Either way - I think I'll step back from my original statement and say - do use null ALT text when it's the right thing to do (but still, use pure-CSS images where that's appropriate and feasible - it is still a better technique, imo).
    Last edited by brothercake; 07-20-2003 at 07:03 PM.
    "Why bother with accessibility? ... Because deep down you know that the web is attractive to people who aren't exactly like you." - Joe Clark


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