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  1. #26
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferrari_chris View Post
    I hope the alt tag can hold 1000 words then, because that's what an image is worth textually...
    The alt/title attribute can hold up to 60 characters in firefox before getting clipped and should always be under 100 characters I think.

  2. #27
    Resident curmudgeon bronze trophy gary.turner's Avatar
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    @Stomme poes: I think the answer lies in a discussion we had at CSSCreator regarding the WebAIM Screen Reader Survey.

    Couldn't you standardize on alt="Photo of listing [$listingIdentifier]"? Your backend guy ought to be able to inject that programmatically easily enough.

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  3. #28
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Just remember that thwere are lots of people out there who for one reason or another don't see the images on the web page. What you need to ask yourself is whether your page is usable for them or whether it just looks like garbage? If the latter then you really need to look at placing something meaningful in the alt attributes of your images OR reqork your page so that it doesn't rely on the images to supply any information at all (in which case you can then also consider whether the page will work better with the images moved to the background.

    If you have a facility for people to upload images for display on your site then that upload option should also include a description input field for them to enter a short description that you can use as the alt text and possibly a second field for them to enter tooltip text to put in the title attribute.
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  4. #29
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary
    Couldn't you standardize on alt="Photo of listing [$listingIdentifier]"? Your backend guy ought to be able to inject that programmatically easily enough.
    Possibly. It's in YetAnotherRewrite : ) and the current $listingIdentifyer is nasty jumbled symbols and numbers, but for teh googles the boss wants $region $country $simplehouseID so if that gets turned into something "readable", yesh my colleague can plug that in easy enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by Felgall
    If you have a facility for people to upload images for display on your site then that upload option should also include a description input field for them to enter a short description that you can use as the alt text and possibly a second field for them to enter tooltip text to put in the title attribute.
    Any tips on how to get the best type of alt text from the uploaders? Should those who use the same piece of text for each image be discouraged ("chalet in Swiss Alps", "chalet in Swiss Alps", "chalet in Swiss Alps")?

    Two fields, meaning alt and title would maybe have to be explained? And then the IE bug (assume most but not all the uploaders use IE and see alt text as how winterheat saw it)?

    Screen readers can and sometimes do read the titles of for instance abbrs and anchors but will a title and alt on an image be double-read? (I can test this on JAWS only).

  5. #30
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    The text is supposed to fulfill the same purpose as the image for those who don't see the image and is not necessarily going to be a description of what the image contains.

    If you don't want a tooltip on the image then specify title="" to correct the IE bug. If you do want a tooltip then make it different from the alt text so that it doesn't matter if someone sees both. Someone seeing the alt text in a text only browser would see the tooltip text when they mouseover it so duplicating the same info in both is redundant.
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  6. #31
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    The text is supposed to fulfill the same purpose as the image for those who don't see the image and is not necessarily going to be a description of what the image contains.
    That's pretty difficult to explain to people who are uploading photos to advertise a house. I'd like to know how to impress that upon people who don't know what the text does or is for. The purpose of the image? To show sighted people what the house looks like because they always ask for photos (there are some houses who don't come with photos and they are last to sell and least picked). HELP! Having the uploader add the text themselves is a good idea, but how to do it (in a useful way!)??? People will write descriptions. How much explanation should the form have??

  7. #32
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomme poes View Post
    That's pretty difficult to explain to people who are uploading photos to advertise a house.
    Not really, you could post something as simple as the below, If you give them a few examples of "best practices" for the alt tag, most people will see the examples and get a general understanding of the requirements.

    Image showing the front view of the converted barn during the day with the garden in sight.

  8. #33
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I did a test, for those interested, with JAWS 7 (the current JAWS out is 10 but it's not with me).

    When an image has both title and alt, only title is read. (!) It didn't matter if they matched or were different (unlike form controls).
    Otherwise alt.
    Otherwise the url.

    And... offtopic.
    we have anchors that lead to language flags for people to change the language (maybe not the best idea for those using something like FasterFox). My entire document (the html tag) has the lang set to "nl" but the lang for each language choice is... whatever that language is. The last language choice is Portuguese. Even though I only have the lang attribute on the anchor itself, JAWS proceeded to read the rest of my Dutch page in Portuguese. Manually adding in a lang attribute for the next item stops this... but those are set dynamically.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanReese View Post
    Alt attributes are required to validate, but unless it is some sort of gov't website they are not required to use alt tags unless the information is vital and the equal information act, or whatever that act is called.
    That's not true. Target lost a $6 Mio. class action lawsuit last year because their web storefront had accessibility issues. They now pay $90 000 the first year and $40 000 the two years thereafter to the NFB (National Federation of the Blind) to monitor their progress. In addition, Target will pay $15000 per training session for their developers.

    The ideas about alt text and how to understand it are all over the place in some posts, I think some people are just guessing or have a vague idea about the subject. I like that Stomme poes actually tested in JAWS, that's at least a constructive post in the whole discussion (remember that the original post didn't ask what alt text is, but what the difference between alt and title attribute is). Not a lot of replies shed light on that.

    W3C in the HTML5 specs has excellent information about alt and title. It's worth going through:

    http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/Overview.html#alt

    For all the contributors who say that alt text is really nothing they are interested in - I don't understand why you wouldn't care about it? Can anybody who doesn't consciously implement alt text in their sites explain to me a little more why they don't? Just curious.
    "The browser is your first client" - Quote: Myself
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  10. #35
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    The target lawsuit is proof enough that it is no longer just government organisations whom are at risk for not allowing those with disabilities to access their services, the same should really apply (and slowly is) to any business which commits to financial transactions (as in sale of goods or services). The reason for this is the same reason that all stores are required to have the facilities to allow people in wheelchairs to enter the store. It isn’t so much about “if the business wants to lose customers then let them” anymore, it’s something which is important in promoting fair trade and practices online so that no-one is discriminated against.

    I would really like to see a dramatic shift towards accessibility for those reasons, and of course it would certainly help weed out the designers and developers whom code hideously (like mid 90’s code) and charge people good money for the service. Pretty much taking advantage of their custom due to lack of general education on the subject between businesses and those who want to rip them off with a poor quality end product.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by melissapbr View Post
    I like that Stomme poes actually tested in JAWS, that's at least a constructive post in the whole discussion
    That is true, but text equivalents are not exclusively for screen reader users. Until a year ago I only had a dial-up connection (and may soon have to revert to that, since my wireless ISP has declared bankruptcy). I, and I suppose others in that situation, browsed with images disabled to make things bearable. I would have liked to use Lynx, but most sites are so poorly built that they are unusable in anything but a graphic browser.

    Users with low bandwidth mobile devices often disable images in their browsers, too. Especially since they usually have to pay per megabyte of download.

    You don't need JAWS to test for good text equivalents. Lynx will do just fine. Or any browser with images disabled (an easy toggle in, e.g., Opera).

    Quote Originally Posted by melissapbr View Post
    For all the contributors who say that alt text is really nothing they are interested in - I don't understand why you wouldn't care about it?
    A lot of people just care about making money. Those who try to do so via web sites don't care about the web or about their visitors. They want to make money without having to work more than absolutely necessary for it.

    I'm not saying this pertains to the participants in this thread, but it's an attitude I've encountered far too often.
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  12. #37
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I was only answering a question I asked myself-- what happens when botha re present.

  13. #38
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    It sounds like JAWS is actually getting it backwards since the alt text should be far more essential to those using a screen reader than the title text is. The title text is additional optional information that not everyone who can see the image will see whereas the alt text should be the same information in words that those who see the image get from the image itself.
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  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by drhowarddrfine View Post
    Which is incorrect behavior. Firefox is correct. Never trust IE to do anything right.
    IE has set the standard for more than a decade, 90&#37; or more of the worlds pages use ALT. And finally the whiners wore down microsoft who changed it in MSIE8. Now the rest of us are going to have a hell of a problem getting them to revert that choice in MSIE9

    Its the wc consortium who should change their "standard".
    Last edited by Paul O'B; Aug 20, 2009 at 03:04. Reason: Rhetoric toned down - please respect other members.

  15. #40
    Resident curmudgeon bronze trophy gary.turner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seertreasure View Post
    IE has set the standard for more than a decade, 90&#37; or more of the worlds pages use ALT. And finally the whiners wore down microsoft who changed it in MSIE8. Now the rest of us are going to have a hell of a problem getting them to revert that choice in MSIE9

    Its the wc consortium who should change their "standard".
    The issue lies with web developers who failed to follow standards. Granted, IE did wrong by causing a mouseover on an image to trigger a tooltip using the alt text, but developers who depended on that faulty rendering, especially as there was a proper attribute for that purpose, were exhibiting a terrible ignorance of their professional standards.

    Going back to html 2.0 (1995), the alt attribute was defined as a replacement for images, "text to use in place of the referenced image resource, for example due to processing constraints or user preference." That definition was reinforced in html 3.2 (1997): "alt CDATA #IMPLIED -- for display in place of image --".

    HTML 4 (1999) introduced the title attribute, and had this to say:
    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. For example, setting the attribute on a link allows user agents (visual and non-visual) to tell users about the nature of the linked resource:
    All this was 6, 4, and 2 years before IE6 in 2001. IE mishandled the alt attribute, but did right by the title attribute, to the extent that having even a null value for title killed the alt tooltip.

    Why were you doing it wrongly all these years?

    Why, when you had a correct attribute for your purpose, did you insist on using the wrong one?

    Why are you PO'd at Firefox, which came along much later, and not at MSFT which had a major hand in writing those very specs; specs that went a long way toward invalidating many of Netscape's core elements in favor of their own direction?

    gary
    Last edited by Paul O'B; Aug 20, 2009 at 03:04.
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