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General Chat Thread, Web picture caption! in General; My mind's gone blank. What's the technical term for the caption that appears when you hover over a picture? Am ...
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    Web picture caption!

    My mind's gone blank. What's the technical term for the caption that appears when you hover over a picture? Am I right in thinking there's an obligation to provide this on websites?

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    martman2002uk's Avatar
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    I think what you mean is the "alt attribute" as far as i can remember theres no obligation to have them but search engines like them as they can index alt tags, cant index pictures..

    Mart

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    p858snake's Avatar
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    Yes, that would be the Alt tag, Although theres no formal obligation, depending on the site their may be obligations relating to disability acts.

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    webman's Avatar
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    I think you're looking for the title attribute; which is different to Alt.

    The alt and title attributes | 456 Berea Street

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    When I did our school website, someone contacted me to say I should include the tags. Presumably, school websites have should have accessibility for the disabled. I did put the tags on but I've just noticed my swimming club site doesn't have them. I've mentioned this to the webmaster, so it's up to him now.

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    mossj's Avatar
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    You are under obligation to use these tags. Although it's not enforced, some people have found themselves challenged (threatened with) legal action by a Blind Society (the name fails me) all these sites changed there code so as of yet no precident has been set.

    p.s Info here (not sure if these are up to date)
    Checklist of Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
    http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/quickref/
    Last edited by mossj; 18th October 2009 at 05:32 PM.

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    The alt attribute is supposed to convey similar information to the picture (for the benefit of people who can't see the picture, and particularly screen readers) so will generally be a literal description of the picture rather than a witty caption for it, which the title attribute is more useful for. There is also a longdesc attribute which can be used to give a longer description than the short sentence which you would put in alt.

    However you don't need to add alt attributes to every picture there are many situations where it's better not to. Take the example of a page which has a list of staff, each with a photo next to the name. It's better to have the alt attribute as either alt="" or alt="*" rather than put the name into an alt attribute on the picture so a screen reader will say the name twice, once from the heading and once from the alt.

    Equally if a photo has been plonked on the page just for aesthetic reasons rather than because it conveys useful information, it can make the page more usable for somebody who isn't using a conventional web browser if you don't give it an alt attribute.

    One other consideration - the descriptions you put in alt are very handy for the search engines to pick up more information about the content of your page - most things you do in the name of accessibility are also good for search engine optimisation.

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