Anne van Kesteren

Alternative content and tooltips

Tooltips. The kind of thing people associate with the HTML title attribute. And, apparently, the alt attribute due to some nice implementations of that. (Netscape Navigator 4 and Internet Explorer 4 started this tradition as far as I know.) Now the alt attribute is for alternative content, not tooltips. Another way to look at this is taking the object element. Semantically, the following two are more or less equivalent:

Do you expect both to show a “tooltip?” One? Or a more sane thing: none of the above? If image could not be loaded, would you still expect a “tooltip” when hovering the content? Here are the answers: “no,” “no,” “yes” and “no.”