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RE: alt and title attributes

for

From: Jukka Korpela
Date: Dec 17, 2001 5:50AM



Racheli Magen < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> The 508 standards require the use of "alt" for images and links

Links themselves cannot have alt attributes, by HTML syntax. If an image is
a link, then the alt text for the image might be seen as alt text for link,
but syntactally it's an <img> element attribute. And <area> elements are
links in a sense, and need to have alt attributes, but this is basically
because <area> elements are sort-of images too.

> but Netscape 6.1+ doesn't support the "alt attribute.

Actually, Netscape 6 has _adequate_ support to alt attributes. Netscape 4
didn't have.

I guess you may have fallen into the trap of thinking that "tooltip
behavior" in some browsers is what alt attributes are really for. Some notes
on this common confusion:
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/html/alt.html#tooltip

Netscape 6 uses the alt attribute in its defined meaning, as a replacement
for the image when the image is not displayed. It does not show it as a
"tooltip" on mouseover, as earlier versions did. But this is an improvement,
not a problem. And when the image is not shown, Netscape 6 treats the alt
text as if it were normal document content, instead of showing it in tiny
text in a box representing a broken image. So, for example, if you have
<h1><img alt="FooBar Inc." src="logo.png"></h1>
and image display is off or logo.png is unavailable, then Netscape 6 shows
the text "FooBar Inc." in 1st level heading style, as if the document
contained
<h1>FooBar Inc.</h1>
And nothing especial happens on mouseover, whether the image is shown or the
alt text is used instead. This is how things were _meant_ to work (and
corresponds to how things have worked on Opera for some browser
generations).

> Does anyone know if I can use the "title" attribute
> instead, which is supported by Netscape as well as
> Internet Explorer?

You can use the title attribute _in addition to_ an alt attribute. It has a
different meaning and purpose. And although title attributes are often
useful, they are not an accessibility issue proper but a matter of enhanced
useability, as explained e.g. in
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/980111.html
(The title attribute is supported by sufficiently new versions of visual
browsers like Netscape, IE, and Opera. It could conceivably be used in
non-visual presentation as well.)

- --
Jukka Korpela
TIEKE Tietoyhteiskunnan kehittamiskeskus ry
Finnish Information Society Development Centre
Salomonkatu 17 A, 10th floor, FIN - 00100 HELSINKI, FINLAND
Phone: +358 9 4763 0397 Fax: +358 9 4763 0399
http://www.tieke.fi <EMAIL REMOVED>


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