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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot pony's Avatar
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    what's in an alt tag?

    what do you think should go in an alt tag? from an accessibility point of view for text only/voice browsers maybe it should be descriptive.
    from a search engine ranking point of view maybe it should be something that matches your keywords?

    what do people think?

    the reason I ask is I'm currently populating a big site with lot's of generic 'people at work' pictures. The descriptive route is a little prosaic eg. "man talking to woman" so I'm tending to go for the title of the section the picture appears in eg. "personal development"
    the bottoms of my shoes are clean from walking in the rain

  2. #2
    Gone!
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    Well from an accessiblity point of view then it should be descriptive, i.e. if a page displays 20 images in the personal development section then a person not be able to see the images wont want to see "Personal Development" in all of the alts. Hell see that in title/heading of the page. Would a viewer find Personal Development in all alt atgs useful.

    In my point of view the alt tag should contain a description of what the image shows visually.

    but hey,thats just my opinion!

  3. #3
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    Perhaps put both in?

    "personal development page - man talking to woman image"

  4. #4
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    that would work for me

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard Ian Glass's Avatar
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    Use alt tags as they were origanaly ment to be used... For accessibility. But don't go overboard. Alt tags shouldn't be used to highlight useless information (i.e. alt="spacer"); for that type of information, use blank alt tags (i.e. alt="").

    Also, for accessability, you could use the longdesc (i.e. longdesc="http://web.site.com/description-of-image.html") attribute to point to a text-based resource if the image needs an indepth description. Again, no one wants to read about a spacer or bullet.

    If you decide that an image needs an indepth description, also use a D-Link. A D-Link is a hyperlink that follows the image and points to the page containing the description of the image.
    Code:
    <img src="image.gif" alt="Bill and Joe talk to one another." longdesc="bill-joe-talk.html"/>
    <a href="bill-joe-talk.html">D</a>
    You could, instead, place a 1px image in the hyperlink, use border="0", and use alt="D" to minimize the affect the D-Links have on your layout.

    As for search engines, I've only heard of AltaVista and Google reading alt tags {http://searchenginewatch.com/webmasters/features.html}. I think that the alt tages are also given the same weight as body text (it's read like body text). I also would assume that they have rotunies to stop people from misusing alt attribute to get higher rankings.
    Last edited by Ian Glass; Oct 19, 2001 at 11:55.

  6. #6
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    Hello
    Looks like everyone knows whats up here

    my opinion is
    ALT = ALTERNATIVE
    that says it all like your all saying
    just put the description of pic
    as in "blue butterflys" they know what page they are on they just need to see what were seeing too.

    thanks
    What you are today is what you believed you were yesterday . . .

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot pony's Avatar
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    thanks folks - your opinions have been really useful - I hadn't heard of 'longdesc' before and it may well be appropriate for some of the things I need to do.
    the bottoms of my shoes are clean from walking in the rain


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