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Labeling an Image

Each <img /> tag in Figure 9.1 includes a short text message, such as alt="friendly fen". The alt stands for alternate text because this message will appear in place of the image in older Web browsers that don't display graphics, or for those users who choose to turn off automatic image downloading in their Web browser preferences. Also, computers with software for the visually disabled (and telephones using a voice-based interface) will speak the text assigned in the alt attribute. This feature is growing in significance and designers should keep the visually impaired in mind when Web pages are being constructed.

People who are using the latest Web browser software will see the message you put in the alt attribute, too. Because graphics files sometimes take a while to transfer over the Internet, most Web browsers show the text on a page first with the alt messages in place of the graphics (as shown in Figure 9.3).


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