Ran my site though one of those online html validators and got a page full of errors because I didn't set an alt tag for all of my spacer.gifs. Will doing this make any difference at all other than making the validator bot happy? Thks.
Using ALT TAGS on all of your images can help you with some search engine rankings and hurt you on other search engines. Maybe that validator is trying to get you to max out your search engine possibilties, but doesn't realize that your images are just spacers. I wouldn't use alt tags on spacers.
I know I read somewhere that the use of ALT tags helps with load speeds, but when I have mentioned it a few times, I get the "who are you kidding?" look. After I read that, I used ALT=" " for the spacer.gifs. Can anybody confirm or deny the use of ALT tags as they relate to load time?
Alt tags do not help speed load times. Height and width tags help speed load time. Alt image tags are helpful for those people who surf the internet without access to the images. Some people turn off their images, some use Lynx and still others (most important group in my book) are blind. Use the alt tags to improve the accessibility of your site by the sight-impaired for they are they only who would love to see your graphics but would never be able to. A nice description would help them immensely. Alt tags on spacer gifs are not needed.
If you don't think it is hard to surf the web without graphics, I can suggest that you turn off graphics for day and visit all your favorite sites. I also suggest you visit www.skinz.org because that site is almost impossible to use properly without graphics.