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what do you think about this site?

 
 
Dylan Parry
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      08-17-2005
Using a pointed stick and pebbles, Red E. Kilowatt scraped:

> The purpose of alt text is to identify graphics that people either can't
> see or aren't downloading, so why wouldn't you use the alt text to
> identify the image as the site logo?


No, the purpose of alt text is to act as a _text replacement_ for when
an image is not or cannot be displayed (a subtle difference from your
definition).

One should not give alt text such as "Company Name Logo" but something
more appropriate, such as "Company Name". Whether it is the logo is
neither here nor there, and including the word "logo" in the alt text
reduces it to a description not a replacement, which is *not* the
purpose of alt text.

Also, setting alt text to "" is not just to get the page to validate but
rather to say to the user-agent that if the image cannot or is not
displayed then the suitable alt text is "", ie. the image has no meaning
other than as eye-candy and can be safely ignored by the user. If no
alt text was given, however, the user-agent may choose to display the
word "image" or even "image.ext", which is less than helpful and may
lead the user to think that the image was actual content, or worse still
it would litter the page with the word "image" making it difficult to read.

--
Dylan Parry
http://electricfreedom.org -- Where the Music Progressively Rocks!
 
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Safalra
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      08-17-2005
Red E. Kilowatt wrote:
> "Safalra" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed) ups.com
> > 1) Your logo at the top has no alt-text. In this case it should be
> > blank because it would be duplicating the title and slogan at the top
> > of the page, so just set alt="". Also it should probably be a PNG
> > rather than a GIF as it's suffering from some horrible dithering.

>
> The purpose of alt text is not so that a page will validate.
>
> The purpose of alt text is to identify graphics that people either can't
> see or aren't downloading,


Not quite; alt-text exists as a primitive mechanism for alternative
content. In other words, the alt-text should serve the same purpose as
the image.

> so why wouldn't you use the alt text to
> identify the image as the site logo?


The purpose of a logo is to identify the organisation it represents. In
text this is the same as just stating the name of the organisation, so
the alt-text should be set to the name of the organisation; unless of
course the page has already stated the name of the organisation, in
which case the alt-text should be blank. (In a visual representation
the logo might be designed to have connotations not associated with the
name in plain text - for example the logo might look 'fun' or 'serious'
- but this cannot easily be represented in text. We could imagine a
future where stylesheets aimed at speech-browsers could specify that
the voice sounds 'excited'. Then again, the spam would be even more
annoying...)

--
Safalra (Stephen Morley)
http://www.safalra.com/hypertext/usability/

 
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William Tasso
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      08-17-2005
Writing in news:alt.www.webmaster,alt.html
From the safety of the Road Runner High Speed Online http://www.rr.com
cafeteria
Red E. Kilowatt <(E-Mail Removed)> said:

> ...
> The purpose of alt text is not so that a page will validate.


Correct, and it should be remembered that validation in and of itself is
not an end but rather a means.

--
William Tasso

** Business as usual
 
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GreyWyvern
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      08-17-2005
And lo, William Tasso didst speak in alt.www.webmaster,alt.html:

> Red E. Kilowatt <(E-Mail Removed)> said:
>
>> ...
>> The purpose of alt text is not so that a page will validate.

>
> Correct, and it should be remembered that validation in and of itself is
> not an end but rather a means.


Validation is like a spell-checker. I knew a lot of peers in school for
whom the spell-checker was the last step in preparing papers for
submission; proofreading be damned.

I'm not sure about other languages, but with English, it sometimes becomes
necessary to break a few rules for the sake of literary expression. This,
however, is only done when one has a very firm grasp of the rules being
broken, as well as a thorough understanding of the reasons for doing so in
the first place.

The same holds true for (X)HTML, AFAIC.

Grey

--
The technical axiom that nothing is impossible sinisterly implies the
pitfall corollory that nothing is ridiculous.
- http://www.greywyvern.com/orca#ring - Orca Ringmaker: Host a webring
from your website!
 
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Charles Sweeney
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      08-17-2005
Dylan Parry wrote

> Using a pointed stick and pebbles, Red E. Kilowatt scraped:
>
>> The purpose of alt text is to identify graphics that people either
>> can't see or aren't downloading, so why wouldn't you use the alt text
>> to identify the image as the site logo?

>
> No, the purpose of alt text is to act as a _text replacement_ for when
> an image is not or cannot be displayed (a subtle difference from your
> definition).
>
> One should not give alt text such as "Company Name Logo" but something
> more appropriate, such as "Company Name". Whether it is the logo is
> neither here nor there, and including the word "logo" in the alt text
> reduces it to a description not a replacement, which is *not* the
> purpose of alt text.


I disagree. The alt text should describe the picture. If the image is
a logo, I want to know it's a logo.

When I first went online, due to a very slow modem I always surfed with
images switched off (same even today using a mobile phone as a modem).
A good description of the image made sense to me, and helped me
understand what the page was about.

Tell me this, if the picture is of a man getting presented with a
cheque, what alt text would you use? I would use something like
"Picture of Mr A receiving a cheque from Mr B". What's wrong with that?

> Also, setting alt text to "" is not just to get the page to validate
> but rather to say to the user-agent that if the image cannot or is not
> displayed then the suitable alt text is "", ie. the image has no
> meaning
> other than as eye-candy and can be safely ignored by the user.


I wouldn't use the alt attribute in such a case. If you must use it,
then "meaningless image" would be better.

> If no
> alt text was given, however, the user-agent may choose to display the
> word "image" or even "image.ext", which is less than helpful and may
> lead the user to think that the image was actual content, or worse
> still it would litter the page with the word "image" making it
> difficult to read.


In which case they should get a better user agent. If the picture
cannot be displayed, and there is no alt text, the agent should ignore
it.

--
Charles Sweeney
http://CharlesSweeney.com
 
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GreyWyvern
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-17-2005
Charles Sweeney <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> I disagree. The alt text should describe the picture. If the image is
> a logo, I want to know it's a logo.


Yesh, that is what the "title" attribute is for. The obvious alt text for
a logo would be the name of the company/organization it represents. This
is the *function* of alt text, it's not up for debate. The fact that
current browsers *cough*MSIE*cough* mishandle it by treating it the same
as a "title" attribute will not be the case forever.

> When I first went online, due to a very slow modem I always surfed with
> images switched off (same even today using a mobile phone as a modem).
> A good description of the image made sense to me, and helped me
> understand what the page was about.


Good alt text should do that for photographs.

> Tell me this, if the picture is of a man getting presented with a
> cheque, what alt text would you use? I would use something like
> "Picture of Mr A receiving a cheque from Mr B". What's wrong with that?


That's not bad alt text, for a photograph. Alternatively, you could use
the longdesc attribute to link to a URI with a more detailed description
of the image. However, longdesc is not really widely supported yet,
despite being part of the HTML 4.01 spec.

>> Also, setting alt text to "" is not just to get the page to validate
>> but rather to say to the user-agent that if the image cannot or is not
>> displayed then the suitable alt text is "", ie. the image has no
>> meaning other than as eye-candy and can be safely ignored by the user.

>
> I wouldn't use the alt attribute in such a case. If you must use it,
> then "meaningless image" would be better.


Huh? So if someone is surfing your website with images off, you'd rather
see this:

+-----------------+ +-----------------+
|meaningless image|Welcome to my website!|meaningless image|
+-----------------+ +-----------------+

.... than this:

Welcome to my website!

???

Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

>> If no
>> alt text was given, however, the user-agent may choose to display the
>> word "image" or even "image.ext", which is less than helpful and may
>> lead the user to think that the image was actual content, or worse
>> still it would litter the page with the word "image" making it
>> difficult to read.

>
> In which case they should get a better user agent. If the picture
> cannot be displayed, and there is no alt text, the agent should ignore
> it.


Just like you "want to know it's a logo", I'd like to know if there were
any images supposed to be on the site which didn't load. This is
especially good while developing. Thus I am happy that Opera replaces
broken images with:

+-----+
|Image|
+-----+

.... rather than hiding them against my wishes. If I feel that the image
is not worth even this bit of display, I can give it alt="" which allows
the browser to assume with confidence that the image is not worth a
textual representation of any kind.

Grey

--
The technical axiom that nothing is impossible sinisterly implies the
pitfall corollary that nothing is ridiculous.
- http://www.greywyvern.com/webslavent?msg=149 - Presto the Puffin!
 
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Charles Sweeney
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      08-18-2005
Safalra wrote

> The purpose of a logo is to identify the organisation it represents.


Yes but crucially, the purpose of a logo is to *visually* identify the
organisation it represents. Nothing else.

As you go some way towards saying, you cannot represent a purely visual
sensation with words. To try to do so is ludicrous. Therefore the best
you can do is tell the user that there is an image there, and give a
short desription of it.

> In text this is the same as just stating the name of the organisation,


It's not. It's anything but the same. You don't get the mood, the
feel, the ethos, the subliminal influences. A crap logo identifies the
organisation, but also tells you (amongst other things) that they may
not be a serious outfit. Just as a quality logo has the opposite
effect. Text can't do that.

Again, better to give the user the organisation name, and tell them
there's a logo there. Sighted people get the organisation name, and can
choose to view the logo. Blind people still get the organisation name.
What possible drawback can there be to stating that there's a logo
there??

When I surf with images turned off, I find the alt text "picture of..."
very helpful. It tells me first of all that there is an image there,
and it helps me to know if I should choose to view it.

If the alt text says "organisation name logo", I might choose to view it
because I am interested in logos.

If the alt-text does not tell me it's a picture (or logo) then the page
does not read well. I see little snippets of text, but completely out
of sync with the surrounding text. But "picture of..." or "...logo"
tells me all I need to know, and does not get confused with surrounding
text.

--
Charles Sweeney
http://CharlesSweeney.com
 
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William Tasso
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      08-18-2005
Writing in news:alt.www.webmaster,alt.html
From the safety of the No thank you cafeteria
Charles Sweeney <(E-Mail Removed)> said:

> Safalra wrote
>
>> The purpose of a logo is to identify the organisation it represents.

>
> Yes but crucially, the purpose of a logo is to *visually* identify the
> organisation it represents. Nothing else.
>
> As you go some way towards saying, you cannot represent a purely visual
> sensation with words. To try to do so is ludicrous. Therefore the best
> you can do is tell the user that there is an image there, and give a
> short desription of it.
>
>> In text this is the same as just stating the name of the organisation,

>
> It's not. It's anything but the same. You don't get the mood, the
> feel, the ethos, the subliminal influences. A crap logo identifies the
> organisation, but also tells you (amongst other things) that they may
> not be a serious outfit. Just as a quality logo has the opposite
> effect. Text can't do that.


No, it can't. But a text only UA/speech UA/Radio/etc. can never 'show'
the logo either. One useful treatment is to use the company name and the
strapline in such circumstances.

"Bodgit Bros IT - Making computers make cents."

> Again, better to give the user the organisation name, and tell them
> there's a logo there. Sighted people get the organisation name, and can
> choose to view the logo. Blind people still get the organisation name.
> What possible drawback can there be to stating that there's a logo
> there??


What you are describing is a description of the page, rather than a
representation of its content.

> When I surf with images turned off, I find the alt text "picture of..."
> very helpful. It tells me first of all that there is an image there,
> and it helps me to know if I should choose to view it.
>
> If the alt text says "organisation name logo", I might choose to view it
> because I am interested in logos.


Yes, that is one instance when it's useful to know there is a logo present
- surely such a researcher would be using a graphical UA?

> If the alt-text does not tell me it's a picture (or logo) then the page
> does not read well. I see little snippets of text, but completely out
> of sync with the surrounding text.


and that is exactly the issue.

ok - one other thought to throw into the mix. The title attribute,
containing a description of the image can probably be the same regardless
of context. The alt attribute however is very much context sensitive.

> But "picture of..." or "...logo"
> tells me all I need to know, and does not get confused with surrounding
> text.


You know what, it seems to me there are many opportunities for throwing a
completely crap page at a visitor. Also, there are few absolutes in this
issue. I suggest a useful treatment of this subject would be made by
presenting a real page from a real site and discussing/chronicling its
development in here.

--
William Tasso

** Business as usual
 
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Nicknamezj
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-18-2005
I just looked at your link you gave under your name, and I saw you were
using a strict.dtd, but your html is not using the strict.dtd rules.

 
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Charles Sweeney
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      08-18-2005
GreyWyvern wrote

> Charles Sweeney <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> GreyWyvern wrote
>>
>>> The obvious alt text
>>> for a logo would be the name of the company/organization it
>>> represents.

>>
>> The obvious alt text would be "company name logo".

>
> No. You're hung up on the mechanics of how browsers put together
> pages, with all the various pieces of technology, when instead you
> should be considering them part of a document structure which works
> regardless if certain parts are disabled.


Not at all. I simply don't see how "Joe Bloggs logo" is a disservice to
a visitor.

> If someone is browsing with images off, it's pretty certain they are
> doing so for a reason. "company name logo" tells them they are
> *missing* something, while using the name of the company tells them
> *what* they are missing.


Not sure if you have misunderstood me. By "company name logo" I mean
(as in the example above) "Joe Bloggs logo", where "Joe Bloggs" is the
name of the company.

So "Joe Bloggs logo", tells the user that the comapny name is "Joe
Bloggs", and that there is a logo there too, which they can choose to
view or ignore.

> Think about it: what is the purpose of a
> company logo? Most often it is to identify the company. How does
> "company name logo" identify the company?


This was discussed in another reply. A logo is a visual identifier.
You *cannot* represent an image with words. This is not up for debate.

> Is all your alt text just a teaser to get people with images turned
> off to load them to see what they're missing? Don't you think that's
> a little presumptuous? What if your visitors are blind?


Not at all. It tells them there is an image there, and gives them a
brief description of it. If visitors are blind, they still get the same
words that a person trying to do the impossible (representing an image
with words) would use, but preceded with "Picture of..."

--
Charles Sweeney
http://CharlesSweeney.com
 
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