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[blockquote]Placing â€œpresentationâ€ into our markup for the sake of accessibility seems to be a mistake.[/blockquote]
Bill: What I’m saying is that the icon can easily be seen as content and therefore belongs in the HTML as an img.
I’ve seen loads of people (including myself) use image replacement for things like company logos. I suggest we all need to consider very carefully whether or not these images are simply presentation or if they are content. In the case of the error and other icons, I believe that they are important enough to be content proper.
One more item – your suggestion to use the title attribute isn’t always going to be enough. Whether it is right or wrong, the title attribute is for advisory information and therefore optionally rendered by the user agent in place of the element to which it is attached. The fact that it happens to render as a tooltip for mouse users possibly deals with the majority, but we are talking about providing the same equivalent information for everyone.