We need a “credit” attribute in XHTML

The XHTML 2.0 draft document by the W3C includes some promising attributes for elements. For instance, a navigation list could have a role with a value of sitemap. I.e.: <nl role="sitemap">

That’s cool. Think on that a bit, o ye of semantic persuasion. The potential benefits of this type of specificity in standard markup is great.

Now, that said, I was working on a site that I hope to launch tomorrow, and I would have loved to use an attribute like credit for image elements. It would be used to specify photo credits for a couple images I’m using, plus on some banners, I could have credited the designer who put them together.

It would look something like this: <img src="cool.jpg" alt="Illustration of a calico cat in a beret playing the saxophone." credit="J. Smith, Illustrator for Cool Colors, Inc." />

We could throw this information into the alt text, but it doesn’t really belong there, since the alt text is supposed to describe the contents of the image. We could also use the title attribute, but it would be nice to reserve that for slightly more pertinent information.

Today, I just added credit information in as comments in the markup. It was an adequate solution, I think, but will never be picked up by any user-agent.

Author: Davin Granroth

Davin is Chief Operating Officer for Covenant Eyes, Inc. in Owosso, MI, USA, where he gets to mix his background in user experience design, research, and strategy with the operation of a software company. For more, see his LinkedIn profile.

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