Alright basically I was wondering something... my exposure to accessibily isn't that high so if i'm way off base just let me know... anyways here goes...

i was reading somewhere commentary on alt tags and their overuse often with sites that are already bloated with non-accessible friendly elements... case in point a lot of sites use a large amount of tables to format a document and the recommendation made by a lot of useability guides is the use alt tags to delineate what images mean... however these pages use "sliced" images and putting alt="top left corner of image of man infront of a keyboard"... now i know this is probably bad practice but nevertheless i think its relatively common... the article i was reading suggested that simpler alt tagging was more recommended... case in point (alt="man at keyboard image 1")... now i agree that this certainly sounds better, but my question is why not make a practice of avoiding these elements...

it seems to me that using an external character that isn't used very often would be a much better way of approaching this problem... it wouldn't alleviate the problem of all the tables... but the massive amount of detailing on fragmented images would be removed... case in point (alt="dash") now this would tell a visually impared browser "dash" and move on... but it wouldn't take as long for a reader to go by... to further the thought an external character that isn't ever used in text (no thought of which one but something like the 179 in ANSI, that has no real bearing on most sites) would be even better because if it became standard practive browsers could be made to "ignore element" which would solve way more issues... then all you'd need to do was include an alt tag for important visual information such as links, and important images that need to be conveyed to properly address a message...

now i know that a common practice is to use database driven sites with multiple frontends and personally i adhere to this philosophy more... however, i'm specifically speaking of those solutions that don't call for backend, or external file solutions...

again, if i'm off base let me know, i haven't kept up in this area so i'm no expert just seems to be a trend, and no unfortunately i can't quote the article in question as i read it about 6 months ago... might be nielsen but don't quote me on that...

Regards,
Owen