Bob:
No amount of descriptive prose will
mean anything to to a blind reader.

Vlad:
I've never heard such sh*t in my life.

I've been following this thread with interest, and I have to agree with Vlad (if not with his exact choice of words...). I was waiting to see what kind of response Bob's assertion would generate, but I thought I'd let those already involved in the discussion have first say...

Language is what we have as our primary tool of communication. There are others, of course - Rothko's paintings speak volumes (even if the man himself lets them speak, choosing enigmatic reservation about their meaning) - but to presume that because someone is blind, they can't understand the content of a visual image via a word-based description is incredibly (ahem) short-sighted. They're blind, not brain-dead. I'd suggest the shortcoming is not in their ability to understand an 'alt' description, but in your ability, Bob, to write one.

To bring this back on-topic: it's not feasible, of course, to include a thousand-word essay as an 'alt' parameter of an img tag, if that's what's necessary to communicate the image's meaning (although there are other methods of supplying such meta-info). But including succinct, meaningful 'alt' descriptions of visual and/or graphic content can make blind people's experience of the web immeasurably richer. The skill of writing those 'alt's is part of writing for the web in general - a tricky and quite specific discipline. Being a web designer doesn't automatically include qualification as a web *writer*. If you can't do it, give the job to someone who can.

N
___________________________
omnivision. websight.
http://www.omnivision.com.au/



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