> tag. But I've 
> also been told that the tag should be alt="  ", NOT alt="", 
> because with 
> no spaces (or one) the screen reader will announce 'blank' 
> whereas with 
> two spaces it remains silent.

David Dorward has already posted the definitive answer to your questions, so
I won't repeat what he said. I just wanted to point that the term "the
screen reader" seems to imply that there is One True Screen Reader, which is
far from the case. There are many different screen readers, and their
behaviour varies, even among different versions of the same software. {car
analogy warning} Saying that "the screen reader" behaves in a certain way is
like saying "The car does 0 - 60mph in 5.6 seconds"; it may in fact be true,
but unless we know _which_ car is being spoken of, it is completely

So if somebody has told you that you should do something a certain way
because of "the screen reader" singular, you can be reasonably certain that
they don't actually understand what they're talking about, and can assess
the worth of their advice on that basis.

(Aside: It should also be borne in mind that screen readers aren't the only
assistive technologies out there, just as total blindness is not the only
disability. Accessibility isn't just about screen reader behaviour.)


Nick Fitzsimons

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