Title Attribute Causes Blindness

Jan 13, 2005 • 3:27 pm | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Web Usability & SEO

The title attribute is used by SEOs to try to do anything to rank higher and more importantly as a method to describe to a disabled person what a link is about. But some people over use them. Take a look at the image below. You will notice I mouse over a title of a thread and a second later, the title attribute is activated, blocking the thread titles underneath it. If you click on the image below, it will show you my frustration in a QuickTime movie.


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01/13/2005 10:35 pm

Rusty, Usually I totally respect your opinions, but this time you coudln't be more wrong. I love those title tags, especially at SEOChat so I can read the first few lines of the post and decide whether a further reading is worthwhile. I'd have to say that whatever is sacrificed in terms of reading below that space - forcing you to hover off the link - is more than made up by time saved from clicking on posts to read the whole thing.

Barry Schwartz

01/13/2005 11:05 pm

Yea, but it does get in the way of seeing the post title under it. Of course this is my opinion, I am sure some will agree and some will disagree. I am not right or wrong, you are not right or wrong. Don't you just love tests like that? :)


01/13/2005 11:28 pm

Actually the title tag on VBulletin just reads off the first 200 characters (or so) of the first post. I dont think anyone can actually "customize" these tags in anyway. It is helpful at times to see what the initial post is about before clicking into the thread itself. I used to have the habit of scrolling my pointer over the titles as I read them but since this new "feature" I just leave my mouse alone at the top of the browser.


01/14/2005 02:13 am

Barry, You're right of course, it's just a matter of opinion. I just like it so much I was shocked to see that it was taking criticism rather than praise - it's one of those things I really miss when I visit SEW or some of the other forums.


01/14/2005 12:30 pm

It is easy to replace title tags with a scrap of javascript to popup a custom div. Such a technique is more controlable with colors and especially timing in, and out - not to mention where it places on the page in relationship to the link. Of course this defeats the SEO purpose of the title tag, but since the title can be accessed via javascript, in theory you could have your cake and eat it too - if you can disable the native title pop-up by the browser. This might be worth tinkering with.


01/17/2005 03:46 pm

Title attributes, not title tags. The term "tag" is reserved for elements, not attributes. Orion

Barry Schwartz

01/17/2005 04:29 pm

Thanks Orion, got it right in the body content. Major slip up, bad typo. I shouldn't make those here.

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