Category: Web

Hurting Web Accessibility: SEO Alt Tag Optimizer & Font Resizer Tool

May 2, 2008

I guess I’ll add a web development post to this mostly art-related blog.

Today, I ran across an excellent list of 100 killer web accessibility resources. Most of these resources are quite good for reference and learning material.

However, I take offense to the SEO Alt Tag (sic) Optimizer & Font Resizer Tool link. I will not link to it here, but I will provide the URL for those interested:


As an accessibility-aware web professional, I have some strong objections to this plugin:

Alt attributes should absolutely not be used solely for SEO purposes. They should be used to convey the purpose of the image or the function of the link surrounding the image. Please see Appropriate Use of Alternative Text for an excellent explanation of the proper usage of alt text.

Alt attribute usage seems quite simple at first (with the rule that every image must have an alt attribute), but text within the alt attribute and indeed, even the need for text within the attribute requires careful thought.

The SEO Alt Tag Optimizer & Font Resizer Tool abuses alt text for the wrong intentions of possibly placing your site higher in search engine rankings by using inappropriate alt text.

Accessibility Attribute Abuse

Even though screen-reader users don‘t need to use a font-size switcher, they do rely heavily on proper alt text for images. Consider this HTML snippet from the plugin creator’s page which uses the plugin:

<img src="" alt="Decrease font size for Post - SEO Alt Tag Optimizer & Font Resizer Tool (WordPress plugin) - Uncategorised Topics - Indiana Loans Ltd" onclick="fnChangeFontSize(‘body‘,-1);" border="0" width="18" height="14" title="To reduce font size, please enable JavaScript and Trust this Site" longdesc="" />

There are 2 major problems with the above code (and some minor problems I won’t get into):

  1. The alt value of “Decrease font size for Post – SEO Alt Tag Optimizer & Font Resizer Tool (WordPress plugin) – Uncategorised Topics – Indiana Loans Ltd” does not provide any information that is useful for a screen-reader user, which is what the alt attribute was created for. Instead, there is excessive marketing language and the useless information about reducing font size (remember, screen-reader software has no concept of font sizing).
  2. There is a misuse of the longdesc attribute to point to a help page for the font-resizer plugin. The longdesc is meant to provide an equivalent to a very complicated image like a chart or graph. It is not meant to provide help text for an application or plugin.

URL Problems

Also, being nit-picky as usual, there are some problems within the URL of the plugin’s creator:

  • Who would trust a plugin from a url that contains ‘indiana-loans’? That’s pure keyword-stuffing, and not anything that would give any indication of a developer’s website. It appears to be a loan website.
  • Usage of the term ‘alt-tag’ is seriously frowned upon by accessibility experts. It’s an alt attribute!
  • optimzer’ – misspellings (when not intentional) probably do not help with search engine optimization.

Okay, I’m done. I ran across this link this afternoon and it just kinda pissed me off. I hate seeing Web accessibility techniques being abused for SEO purposes.

The Bad Balance saga pt. 5 or so

September 27, 2003

Whut—I’ve just transferred the Bad Balance site to php, and it really wasn’t that difficult. As I was only using asp to do sequential image pages and includes. After 5 days, I’ve finally had enough time to fix it. And this is great and also wonderful.

Transition Disaster

September 25, 2003

I’m in the middle of a bungled-up transition from a Windows host to an Apache host. I thought using Chilisoft ASP would be fine, but nobody can tell me how to correctly path my virtual includes, and every asp page has an ugly URL that comes with it.

I’d call this a learning experience.

Now I have to recode 3 sites into php. The asp and php is not doing anything too fancy. I’m just using them for includes and if-else statements, etc. But still. And dang.

Domain Names

October 12, 2002

I just remembered that if I put links on here and then click them, there’s the possibility of the webmaster of Hy-Vee, for example, to get at this site through the referer logs. Yeah, right.

I just learned that according to, ‘referer’ is “a misspelling of ‘referrer’ which somehow made it into the HTTP standard.”

Mmm-hmm, I forgot who’s been doing this already, but there are many good domain names that are not yet reserved:

  • and so forth

Maybe because those domain names are so nice people think they’re weak. Or maybe everyone’s sick of domain names by now. At least Stupid Fresh and Crazy Fresh are upon in it.

Nobody Sees This

September 8, 2001

I’ve been recently realizing that nobody sees this blog, so it is doing the job I hoped it would do. And that is to serve as a journal that has the possibility of being seen. For you see, the last time I wrote in any kind of a journal, it was hell to read through because I was writing as if it would never be seen by anyone. And for me, that creates shitty writing.

And my spider seems to have died after sucking all the blood out of some huge insect. Maybe the blood was poisoned or the spider ate too damn much.

My internship just turned into a full time Webmaster position. So now I am an entry-level webmaster. Shit. Who ever heard of an entry level webmaster? This job is doomed.

Email from Freeservers

June 30, 2001

Email from freeservers:

The last time you went to a fast-food restaurant, didn’t they ask you if you wanted to supersize your meal? Now we feel like getting into the act and asking you if you want to supersize your Web site. Well… don’t you want to supersize your Web site?

Just think of all you could now do with more Web space and bigger file sizes:

Add high-quality, streaming videos – With up to 100 MB of Web space…

Share digital photos – Now that you’ve got that slick new digital camera…

Create graphics-intensive Flash & Shockwave sites…

I get confused when fast food gets compared to slow sites.


June 30, 2001

Today I have learned more than usual about web design. Next goal is creating liquid pages. Then my sites won’t be so damn small-looking on the large monitors.

Over the past year I have been turning more and more towards web design than illustration. It started out with switching to the Design program from the Illustration program one semester before graduation. I feared the freelance life. So I got into print design, and then into web design in hopes of landing a full-time gig. It’s been a while, but I’m still learning. Still learning how to interview with enthusiasm. Still learning how to prepare for working on a team. Still learning how to communicate with others who seem to know more about it than I do. I am teaching myself, with help from online tutorials and I am getting better at it steadily. And doing less illustration.

I am not making much money doing web work OR illustration, so it doesn’t matter yet. But it will soon.