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Empty Alt Tags

I'm wondering whether it's better to leave an alt tag blank (alt=" ")
or specify something like "alt='space r'" when referring to objects that
merely help the layout of the page?

-Fleemo

Jul 24 '05 #1
39 4963

<fl******@comca st.net> wrote in message
news:11******** **************@ z14g2000cwz.goo glegroups.com.. .
I'm wondering whether it's better to leave an alt tag blank (alt=" ")
or specify something like "alt='space r'" when referring to objects that
merely help the layout of the page?

-Fleemo


Not sure if it helps for accessibility, but I try to name every alt tag,
even if it just says "border" or "spacer."

Carla
Jul 24 '05 #2
"c.thornqui st" <c.**********@i nsightbb.com> wrote:
<fl******@comc ast.net> wrote in message
news:11******* *************** @z14g2000cwz.go oglegroups.com. ..
I'm wondering whether it's better to leave an alt tag blank (alt=" ")
or specify something like "alt='space r'" when referring to objects that
merely help the layout of the page?

alt=""
Not sure if it helps for accessibility, but I try to name every alt tag,
even if it just says "border" or "spacer."


Use a speaking browser and listen to your page. Does alt="spacer"
improve your experience? Does it help you to comprehend and use the
content of the page?

Steve

--
"My theories appal you, my heresies outrage you,
I never answer letters and you don't like my tie." - The Doctor

Steve Pugh <st***@pugh.net > <http://steve.pugh.net/>
Jul 24 '05 #3
fl******@comcas t.net wrote:
I'm wondering whether it's better to leave an alt tag blank (alt="
") or specify something like "alt='space r'" when referring to
objects that merely help the layout of the page?


First, it's an attribute, not a tag.

Second, don't use it without thinking what it means and what it might
help. There's no pointing in giving an advice about this specific
issue. If you need to ask it, you will get most other alt attributes
wrong too, unless you understand the _idea_ of an alt attribute.

It means a textual alternative to the image, to be actually presented
to the user when the image is not presented. Now imagine yourself
sitting in a completely dark room and listening to a speech synthesizer
that reads a page for you, saying for instance

Advertisement
* Spacer
Home
Page
* Spacer
Health
Data
* Spacer
Topics
List
* Spacer
Media
Center
* Spacer
Information
Products
* Spacer
PAHO
Publishing
* Spacer
Knowledge
Resources

Or how about this (no, I'm not making this up):

Spacer graphic
Spacer graphic

Spacer graphic
Spacer graphic Spacer graphic
Spacer graphic Spacer graphic

[EMBED]
Spacer graphic

What could possibly justify using alt="spacer"? How did people ever get
such an idea?

Well, it _can_ get even worse if you are using alt attributes without
the slightest idea or clue:

your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
[LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK]

your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
[LINK]
[LINK]
[LINK]
[LINK]
[LINK]
[LINK]
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
Coming Soon
Coming Soon
Coming Soon

(Sorry for long quotations, but they are part of the point. People
really have to listen to [or read] such nonsense, over and over again,
especially since it's often in a navigation area repeated at the start
of each and every page of a site. And the site may proudly present an
accessibility stamp. Bobby approved, or whatever.)

More on alt attributes: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/html/alt.html

--
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html

Jul 24 '05 #4

"Steve Pugh" <st***@pugh.net > wrote in message
news:15******** *************** *********@4ax.c om...
"c.thornqui st" <c.**********@i nsightbb.com> wrote:
<fl******@com cast.net> wrote in message
news:11****** *************** *@z14g2000cwz.g ooglegroups.com ...
I'm wondering whether it's better to leave an alt tag blank (alt=" ")
or specify something like "alt='space r'" when referring to objects that
merely help the layout of the page?


alt=""
Not sure if it helps for accessibility, but I try to name every alt tag,
even if it just says "border" or "spacer."


Use a speaking browser and listen to your page. Does alt="spacer"
improve your experience? Does it help you to comprehend and use the
content of the page?

Steve

--
"My theories appal you, my heresies outrage you,
I never answer letters and you don't like my tie." - The Doctor

Steve Pugh <st***@pugh.net > <http://steve.pugh.net/>


I had given it a little thought. Very little, so it seems. But for two
reasons I started naming most images 1) so my pages validated at w3.org and
2) because I didn't want those who couldn't see the images to think they
were missing out on anything important. I'll remember to skip alt tags for
unimportant items in the future. I do not use "spacer" in sliced images.

Carla
Jul 24 '05 #5
Els
c.thornquist wrote:
"Steve Pugh" <st***@pugh.net > wrote in message
news:15******** *************** *********@4ax.c om...
"c.thornqui st" <c.**********@i nsightbb.com> wrote:
<fl******@co mcast.net> wrote in message
news:11***** *************** **@z14g2000cwz. googlegroups.co m...
I'm wondering whether it's better to leave an alt tag blank (alt=" ")
or specify something like "alt='space r'" when referring to objects that
merely help the layout of the page?


alt=""
Not sure if it helps for accessibility, but I try to name every alt tag,
even if it just says "border" or "spacer."


Use a speaking browser and listen to your page. Does alt="spacer"
improve your experience? Does it help you to comprehend and use the
content of the page?

Steve

--
"My theories appal you, my heresies outrage you,
I never answer letters and you don't like my tie." - The Doctor

Steve Pugh <st***@pugh.net > <http://steve.pugh.net/>


I had given it a little thought. Very little, so it seems. But for two
reasons I started naming most images 1) so my pages validated at w3.org and
2) because I didn't want those who couldn't see the images to think they
were missing out on anything important. I'll remember to skip alt tags for
unimportant items in the future. I do not use "spacer" in sliced images.


Don't "skip alt tags", but leave them empty. Like Steve already said
up^there: alt="". This way the validator doesn't complain, and the alt
value doesn't get read by a speech browser.

--
Els http://locusmeus.com/
Sonhos vem. Sonhos vão. O resto é imperfeito.
- Renato Russo -
Jul 24 '05 #6

"Jukka K. Korpela" <jk******@cs.tu t.fi> wrote in message
news:Xn******** *************** ******@193.229. 0.31...
fl******@comcas t.net wrote:

snip> Well, it _can_ get even worse if you are using alt attributes without
the slightest idea or clue:

your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
[LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK]

your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
[LINK]
[LINK]
[LINK]
[LINK]
[LINK]
[LINK]
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
Coming Soon
Coming Soon
Coming Soon

(Sorry for long quotations, but they are part of the point. People
really have to listen to [or read] such nonsense, over and over again,
especially since it's often in a navigation area repeated at the start
of each and every page of a site. And the site may proudly present an
accessibility stamp. Bobby approved, or whatever.)

More on alt attributes: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/html/alt.html

--
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html

Sounds like a website under construction. Those of us who see pages like
that are equally dismayed.

Are you saying if a page has 3-4 spacers, don't mark them? If so, will the
visitor think there is an image there? You mean they are not aware of images
unless the alt tag tells them?
I thought readers included more info (like image, no alt). Thanks for
explaining how they work.

Carla
Jul 24 '05 #7
In our last episode,
<11************ **********@z14g 2000cwz.googleg roups.com>,
the lovely and talented fl******@comcas t.net
broadcast on comp.infosystem s.www.authoring.html:
I'm wondering whether it's better to leave an alt tag blank (alt=" ")
or specify something like "alt='space r'" when referring to objects that
merely help the layout of the page?


I think it is better to have an empty ALT (alt="") for images
which are purely decorative (srollwork, etc.). Putting a blank
in the ALT makes it show up as something where it is not wanted.

Using images for spacing never was desirable, but when
implimentations of CSS were very spotty, some years back, I
defended it as necessary in some cases. There is no longer any
good reason to use spacer images.

--
Lars Eighner ei*****@io.com http://www.larseighner.com/
Fast, Cheap, Good: Choose any two.
Jul 24 '05 #8
In our last episode,
<nSk3e.17469$NW 5.5789@attbi_s0 2>,
the lovely and talented c.thornquist
broadcast on comp.infosystem s.www.authoring.html:

"Steve Pugh" <st***@pugh.net > wrote in message
news:15******** *************** *********@4ax.c om...
"c.thornqui st" <c.**********@i nsightbb.com> wrote:
<fl******@co mcast.net> wrote in message
news:11***** *************** **@z14g2000cwz. googlegroups.co m...
I'm wondering whether it's better to leave an alt tag blank (alt=" ")
or specify something like "alt='space r'" when referring to objects that
merely help the layout of the page?
alt=""
Not sure if it helps for accessibility, but I try to name every alt tag,
even if it just says "border" or "spacer."


Use a speaking browser and listen to your page. Does alt="spacer"
improve your experience? Does it help you to comprehend and use the
content of the page?

Steve

--
"My theories appal you, my heresies outrage you,
I never answer letters and you don't like my tie." - The Doctor

Steve Pugh <st***@pugh.net > <http://steve.pugh.net/>

I had given it a little thought. Very little, so it seems. But for two
reasons I started naming most images 1) so my pages validated at w3.org and
empty alts will validate (alt=""), leaving alts out altogether
won't.
2) because I didn't want those who couldn't see the images to think they
were missing out on anything important. I'll remember to skip alt tags for
unimportant items in the future. I do not use "spacer" in sliced images.


Most browsers I know of ignore empty alts, leaving nothing to
wonder about.
--
Lars Eighner ei*****@io.com http://www.larseighner.com/
"Shhh! Be vewwy, vewwy quiet! I'm hunting Muswims!"
- President Elmer Bush
Jul 24 '05 #9
"c.thornqui st" <c.**********@i nsightbb.com> wrote in message
news:VZk3e.6213 $kT5.2319@attbi _s21...

"Jukka K. Korpela" <jk******@cs.tu t.fi> wrote in message
news:Xn******** *************** ******@193.229. 0.31...
fl******@comcas t.net wrote:

snip>

Well, it _can_ get even worse if you are using alt attributes without
the slightest idea or clue:

your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
[LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK]

your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
[LINK]
[LINK]
[LINK]
[LINK]
[LINK]
[LINK]
your image description here
your image description here
your image description here
Coming Soon
Coming Soon
Coming Soon

(Sorry for long quotations, but they are part of the point. People
really have to listen to [or read] such nonsense, over and over again,
especially since it's often in a navigation area repeated at the start
of each and every page of a site. And the site may proudly present an
accessibility stamp. Bobby approved, or whatever.)

More on alt attributes: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/html/alt.html

--
Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html

Sounds like a website under construction. Those of us who see pages like
that are equally dismayed.

Are you saying if a page has 3-4 spacers, don't mark them? If so, will the
visitor think there is an image there? You mean they are not aware of
images unless the alt tag tells them?
I thought readers included more info (like image, no alt). Thanks for
explaining how they work.

Carla


If there is no alt attribute, the reader will read the file name (as far as
I can remember, it has been a while since I tested with an actual reader).

Like the others have stated, it is better to use an empty alt attribute (
alt=""") than to leave it out altogether. If an image serves no other use
than decorative (or as a spacer), then an empty alt is the best bet.

--
SamMan
Rip it to reply

Jul 24 '05 #10

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