Accessibility Evaluation Protocols w/ URL

Allison Bloodworth abloodworth at
Fri Nov 2 23:29:24 UTC 2007

I was curious about this and ended up doing quite a bit of testing to  
figure this out. Apparently FF & Safari do not show alt text by  
default, but do show title text, which according to most  
interpretations of the HTML spec is the way they *should* act (see  
the debate on this here: 

 From the HTML 4.01 spec (
Values of the title attribute may be rendered by user agents in a  
variety of ways. For instance, visual browsers frequently display the  
title as a "tool tip" (a short message that appears when the pointing  
device pauses over an object). Audio user agents may speak the title  
information in a similar context. For example, setting the attribute  
on a link allows user agents (visual and non-visual) to tell users  
about the nature of the linked resource:
For user agents that cannot display images, forms, or applets, this  
attribute specifies alternate text. The language of the alternate  
text is specified by the lang attribute.

Several non-textual elements (IMG, AREA, APPLET, and INPUT) let  
authors specify alternate text to serve as content when the element  
cannot be rendered normally. Specifying alternate text assists users  
without graphic display terminals, users whose browsers don't support  
forms, visually impaired users, those who use speech synthesizers,  
those who have configured their graphical user agents not to display  
images, etc.
More info on that debate:

But there has apparently been a Firefox extension written to show alt  
text on mouseover: I  
just downloaded it and it  works for me on a Mac, so I added  
information on it to the wiki page ( 
display/fluid/Simple+Accessibility+Walkthrough+Protocol). It doesn't  
show alt tags for links on mouseover, but I don't think that is  
something we are testing for. There seems to be another extension  
which does this: 
for-links/, but it doesn't seem to be compatible with more recent  
versions of Firefox (and I didn't try to install it).

However, does it matter at all that you can't tell whether you are  
seeing title or alt text on mouseover? I suppose it's possible that  
you might be mousing over an image with a title tag but not an alt  
tag (or theoretically a link with an alt tag but not a title tag).


On Nov 2, 2007, at 7:54 AM, Michael S Elledge wrote:

> Hi Allison--
> Do Safari or Firefox show alt and title text when the cursor is  
> over images and links? I forgot to check on my mac at home.
> Mike
> Allison Bloodworth wrote:
>> Mike, this is totally cool! I made a couple little formatting/ 
>> linking edits. I've always wanted to know what I should really be  
>> checking in JAWS, and the information on what to check in the AIS  
>> or Accessibility Extension Toolbar is also fantastic to have.
>> In re: to the Simple Accessibility Walkthrough Protocol, is there  
>> an alternate way someone on a Mac can perform "Step 4: Use  
>> Internet Explorer (6 or 7) to check for alternative text for all  
>> images and title text for links"? Even though it wouldn't be  
>> "simple", do we want to point Mac users to the appropriate part of  
>> the 
>> +Accessibility+Evaluation+Protocol+for+Macintosh for this info?
>> This is coming from a new Mac user who is still trying to get  
>> understand exactly what I can't do without PC! :)
>> Allison
>> On Oct 30, 2007, at 9:11 AM, Colin Clark wrote:
>>> Hi Mike,
>>> Good point. Would it help to create a main page that describes  
>>> the accessibility evaluation process and the goals of each  
>>> version, with links to each detailed page?
>>> Colin
>>> Michael S Elledge wrote:
>>>> That's a perfectly reasonable idea that crossed my mind as well;  
>>>> my only concern is that no one will ever look at (or perform)  
>>>> the comprehensive evaluation...
>>>> Mike
>>>> Colin Clark wrote:
>>>>> Hi Mike,
>>>>> This looks really great! Should we split the simple and  
>>>>> comprehensive evaluation protocols into two separate pages?  
>>>>> This might make it a bit easier to read and digest. Thoughts?
>>>>> Colin
>>>>> Michael S Elledge wrote:
>>>>>> Here's the url:
>>>>>> Hi Everyone--
>>>>>> I've done some major revisions to the protocols for accessibility
>>>>>> testing in advance of my talk and workshop at York this  
>>>>>> Thursday. I've
>>>>>> even created a separate protocol for those of you who INSIST  
>>>>>> on using a
>>>>>> Macintosh. :-)
>>>>>> It would be great to have feedback if any of you have a spare  
>>>>>> minute.
>>>>>> Thanks....
>>>>>> Mike
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>> fluid-work mailing list
>>>>>> fluid-work at <mailto:fluid-work at>
>>> -- 
>>> Colin Clark
>>> Technical Lead, Fluid Project
>>> Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> fluid-work mailing list
>>> fluid-work at <mailto:fluid-work at>
>> Allison Bloodworth
>> Senior User Interaction Designer
>> Educational Technology Services
>> University of California, Berkeley
>> (415) 377-8243
>> abloodworth at <mailto:abloodworth at>
>> <elledge.vcf>

Allison Bloodworth
Senior User Interaction Designer
Educational Technology Services
University of California, Berkeley
(415) 377-8243
abloodworth at

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