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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard jag5311's Avatar
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    Title attributes not mandatory? W3c doesn't use it

    I just noticed that the w3c.org site does not use title attributes for their links. Any "real" reason to the lack of these?

    Bryan

  2. #2
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    It depends upon how self-explanatory the link itself is or whether it uses an abbreviation, actually it does use the title attribute so I am a little confused why you think it doesn't unless you got your words muddled.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard jag5311's Avatar
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    sorry, let me clarify.

    The top links do have titles, the rest of the links on the page, like the left column and right column don't. I am still in a learning process of what proper coding is. I was under the assumption that the title attributes should be used on all links. I guess only for links that need more clarification like you said.

  4. #4
    The CSS Clinic is open silver trophybronze trophy
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    Hi,

    I think you're confusing the title attribute on links with the title and alt attributes on images.

    On an image the alt attribute supplies the text to be displayed if an image is not present or before its loaded (or turned off), but the title attribute should be a title (description) of the image.

    Most people have used the alt attribute as a toolktip when mousing over the image but this is not the correct interpretation of the standards and the title tag should be used for the description.

    Mozilla does not display the alt tags on mouseover whereas IE does ( although incorrectly). Both will display the title attribute if added as indeed they should do.

    Paul

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    SitePoint Wizard DougBTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul O'B
    IE does ( although incorrectly).
    Where do the specs say this?

    Is it against the specs if I turn off images?

    Douglas
    Hello World

  6. #6
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougBTX
    Where do the specs say this?
    the spec states

    The alt attribute specifies alternate text that is rendered when the image cannot be displayed [...]. User agents must render alternate text when they cannot support images, they cannot support a certain image type or when they are configured not to display images.
    (from http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/objects.html#h-13.2 - emphasis mine)

    ok, so IE chooses to display the alt as tooltip. it goes outside of the spec itself, but that's ok up to a certain extent. what is, however, not ok is when web authors RELY on the tooltip to appear for a certain effect (e.g. "mystery meat" navigation where you don't know what an image link is until you mouse over it and wait for the tooltip), as tooltips are NOT the standard behaviour and other browsers (e.g. Mozilla Firebird) quite rightly do NOT show tooltips. they will, however, show title one way or the other (in the majority, if not all, browsers, this will happen as a tooltip)

    Values of the title attribute may be rendered by user agents in a variety of ways. For instance, visual browsers frequently display the title as a "tool tip" (a short message that appears when the pointing device pauses over an object). Audio user agents may speak the title information in a similar context.
    (from http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/gl...tml#adef-title )

    Is it against the specs if I turn off images?
    on the contrary...this is the ONLY behaviour described in the spec.
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard jag5311's Avatar
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    so in a nutshell, applying a title="blah" is not required for a link.

    Sorry, I needed plain english

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard DougBTX's Avatar
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    The important phrase is:

    User agents must render alternate text when...
    That is a "must", not a "may only".

    From the same page:

    Specifying alternate text assists [...] visually impaired users
    The spec does not say that the alternate text can only be given to the user when images are turned off.

    What I think is unhelpful, are browsers which do not make the most of displaying the data in the HTML file. I think it is bad that IE does not display the links in the <link> tags in the header. I think that it is bad that IE does not allow an easy way to switch alternate styles on a page directly from the browser. I also think that is it bad to not make alt text for images readily avalable to the person looking at the page.

    Douglas
    Hello World

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard DougBTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jag5311
    so in a nutshell, applying a title="blah" is not required for a link.
    It isn't required to put the link on the page at all.

    Put in a title if you think that the link needs a title, now that you know what a title is and how to use it.

    Douglas
    Hello World

  10. #10
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougBTX
    The spec does not say that the alternate text can only be given to the user when images are turned off.
    correct indeed. as i said, what *is* wrong, however, is for developers to rely on IE's tooltip behaviour as if it was a ratified standard.

    What I think is unhelpful, are browsers which do not make the most of displaying the data in the HTML file. I think it is bad that IE does not display the links in the <link> tags in the header. I think that it is bad that IE does not allow an easy way to switch alternate styles on a page directly from the browser. I also think that is it bad to not make alt text for images readily avalable to the person looking at the page.
    you're right on all those points. IE is the worst offender when it comes to this. it does expose things like alt etc, but not to the user. firebird, for instance, offers up the alt information (and lots of other goodies) when viewing an image's properties (from the context menu).
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  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard DougBTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redux
    it does expose things like alt etc, but not to the user.
    Do you like circles? Or is this more of a spiral?

    Anyway, saying IE doesn't display alt text to the user is like saying that this thread is like hitting your head against a wall....

    Douglas
    Hello World

  12. #12
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougBTX
    Do you like circles? Or is this more of a spiral?

    Anyway, saying IE doesn't display alt text to the user is like saying that this thread is like hitting your head against a wall....

    Douglas
    well, so attempting to write a reply i wound myself up in an argument and what i wrote down came out all wrong. sue me :-p
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Evangelist N9ne's Avatar
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    At the end of the day, it's down to personal preference. It's good if you use title="" in your <a> tags, but not mandatory. Personally, I do use them. However alt="" is required for images.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard DougBTX's Avatar
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    If we say it enough times will it be true?
    Hello World

  15. #15
    Ensure you finish what you sta bronze trophy John Colby's Avatar
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    Are we, with the best of intentions, in danger of confusing the specifications with how they are interpreted and extended within the heading of 'good practice'?

    Specs do not say that we have to write content gramatically, in whatever language, but it is good practice so to do. Likewise if the specs allow for a certain language construct and usage and it is considered good practice then in my book good practice rules rather than worrying what the spec compels and ignoring what makes the page easier for users.
    John
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