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Re: latest practice on alt text


From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Date: Dec 23, 2008 5:30PM

On 23/12/08 23:56, Debbie Pomerance wrote:
> Not using alt="nice butterflies" I understand is silly, but why not
> alt="decorative image" to denote an image on the page, that is not
> substantive, so the non-sighted viewer knows that it is not material to the
> sense of the page?

Screen readers would typically render <img alt="decorative image"> as
"image decorative image", which slows down the user's processing of the

Screen readers will typically not render <img alt=""> at all, so it
doesn't clog up the user experience.

> I have a logo on my page, should I not give an alt
> designation of "company logo" ?

A company logo probably isn't an example of a _purely_ decorative image.

I don't think it's possible to generalize about appropriate alternative
text for logos, because they are used for particular purposes in
particular contexts.

Consider the following two simple scenarios:

(A) <h1><img src="shell.jpg" alt="{ALTERNATIVE}">Shell Oil</h1>

(B) <h1><img src="shell.jpg" alt="{ALTERNATIVE}"></h1>

I'd suggest:

(A) <h1><img src="shell.jpg" alt="">Shell Oil</h1>

(B) <h1><img src="shell.jpg" alt="Shell Oil"></h1>

- and perhaps putting a description of the logo itself somewhere in an
About section.

Note that preferred text alternatives for logo images is the subject of
one of the questions in the WebAIM screen reader survey.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis