bedlam - 7:12 pm on Feb 13, 2009 (gmt 0) There are two questions at work in this thread:
We've confounded P1R :)
I want to send smoke signals to the other 9 on the above list and see if we can get them involved too. I want to know why they felt it was necessary to do all this. What have I missed phranque, anyone?
There are two questions at work in this thread:
P1R, with respect to the first question you seem to have empirically confirmed (thanks!) what I'd have guessed: namely that an img with an appropriate alt attribute inside a heading element is interpreted by search engine spiders and assistive devices the same way as text.
The answer to the other question is simple: the point of image replacement is just to take that final step in removing presentation-related graphics to the stylesheet.* Now the necessity of doing this is certainly open to question, but it does make plenty of access-related tasks easier--since the presentational parts of the document are not part of the document, it's possible to offer print stylesheets, high-contrast stylesheets, big print stylesheets, and stylesheets for mobile devices without altering the markup.
Using an img element instead of replacing a text element with a background image or the content property has the significant disadvantage that, though you can style the image out of the markup, when you do so, it's simply absent--there is no alt attribute or anything else to deliver the content. This is, IMO, awfully similar to the criticisms leveled at image replacement.
I agree that the eventual goal must be some kind of method for delivering fonts with documents just as we deliver images, but until that's possible (i.e. widely supported) I still think image replacement is a pretty good option.
*This assumes that there are cases where one kind of necessity or other (usually a client...) compels us to do whatever we can to render text with an alternate font etc...