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Re: Image sprites and Accessibility checking


From: Christian Heilmann
Date: Feb 25, 2009 3:30PM

Cullom, Adria Ellen wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm wondering if you guys at WebAIM or anyone on the list has had experience with image sprites and accessibility testing. In particular, since image sprites eliminate the use of the <IMG> tag, how do you check for missing alt text? Any insight would be appreciated.
I really do not understand how this question still survives. CSS sprites
are for CSS *background images* which are by definition only of
*aesthetic* value - not visual content of the document itself. If you
put an image in the page that has *meaning* then use an IMG element and
give it an alternative text in the *alt* attribute. You can also add a
title attribute to add extra information that will be displayed to every
user as a tooltip. If your image has *a lot of content* for example a
graph then consider using the *longdesc* attribute to link to a textual
representation of the same data.

That is it - images in CSS are only visual extras, not page content,
hence they *never* need alternative text. "Rounded corner" or
"blue-yellow gradient" does not help anybody as alternative text - on
the contrary, it annoys!