[uf-discuss] RFC: Using <img>'s alt attribute for Microformats

Scott Reynen scott at randomchaos.com
Thu Dec 15 08:16:18 PST 2005

Tantek Çelik wrote:

>> It seems to me that title would not make sense for content (except
>> for in the case of the abbr-datetime pattern). Alt seems more
>> meaningful here.
> Agreed.
> In general we should not be using "title" for this kind of purpose  
> unless
> *absolutely* necessary, like in the abbr-datetime pattern, as Ryan  
> pointed
> it.
> The rule still is to keep the data as visible as possible.  We made an
> exception in the abbr-datetime case only because of another rule  
> which is
> humans first, machines second.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but it doesn't seem to me that using  
alt for machine data follows the humans first principle because  
imageless humans are reading alt tags.  As a human, I'd hate to be  
reading something like this in a screen reader:

<img class="bday" src="today.png" alt="20051215T080000Z" />

And my first inclination would be to give imageless humans something  
more readable by putting the machine data in the title attribute  
instead, e.g.:

<img class="bday" src="today.png" alt="December 15, 2005"  
title="20051215T080000Z" />

This is sending three different types of data to three different  
types of readers.  src is for imaged humans, alt is for imageless  
humans, and title is for machines.  I understand the drawback of  
further complication, but the alternative seems to require authors to  
choose between usability and microformats.


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