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Re: ALT Text - CMS Problem


From: Chris Hoffman
Date: Apr 14, 2011 4:45PM

Hi David,

How about keeping the required alt text field, and adding another "Is this a decorative image?" (default = false) field. Then, if the description is "top left corner -- blue", you can still display the image with an empty alt attribute.

That would keep people from omitting alt text where it _is_ necessary, and additionally get them to consider the roles the images play in the user experience, which may be a good thing.


On Apr 14, 2011, at 6:08 PM, David Ashleydale < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> Hi,
> I have a conundrum that I'd love to hear some perspectives on. We have a
> content management system at work that forces users to enter non-null ALT
> text for every image on a web page -- even images that are deemed
> "decorative".
> First, do you think I should get them to fix this system so that users can
> choose whether an image gets ALT text or null ALT text? One of the potential
> problems with doing that is it might result in meaningful images getting
> null ALT text because the page authors could then just "skip them" by
> choosing null. Since we are now forcing page authors to think about ALT
> text, they're at least trying and they cannot proceed without assigning ALT
> text to every image. And we do have a much higher percentage of meaningful
> images than decorative images on our site.
> Is it worth possibly increasing the number of meaningful images with null
> ALT text in order to correctly assign null ALT text to decorative images?
> Second, if we do leave the system the way it is, what are some good
> guidelines to give to page authors when they are confronted with having to
> come up with ALT text for decorative images? I'm sure "keep it short" is one
> good tip -- any others?
> Thanks,
> David Ashleydale