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My inclination is towards 'no', because on hovering over the centre of a menu link in Chrome, the display of the title attribute's contents covers the rest of the menu, which provides for a poor experience.

This site is an example of what I mean: http://www.cntraveller.com/

If you hover over a menu link in Chrome, you might see what I mean.

Are there any scenarios where using the title attribute is advantageous and outweighs, overall, the negative aspect of using it?

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Oh god that is a terrible implementation of this. –  Ben Brocka Apr 3 '12 at 1:29
    
NO not for menus atleast!! –  sree Apr 3 '12 at 10:01
    
Extremely related if not a duplicate: Is it a good idea to add tooltip to some text that says exactly the same? –  Ben Brocka May 26 '12 at 15:58

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I covered a very similar question to this recently regarding titles on links, below is a summary of the points, my focus was on accessibility of the title attribute.

1) There is some argument as to how to use the title attribute, especially for images and links. Below are some differing points of view:

Nielsen says: The goal of the link title is to help users predict what will happen if they follow a link.

RNIB proffesional says: Don't use them, except in specific cirumstances.

We said: Title of the page you are linking to, if the text link isn’t already the title of the page.

W3C say: setting the attribute on a link allows user agents (visual and non-visual) to tell users about the nature of the linked resource:

I would recommend having researched further: Whenever you are using a title attrubute think carefully. Writing suitable content should do away with the need for titles. If there is no other alternative then be aware that there is no guarantee the information in the title will be available to your users.

Conclusion - The title attribute is optional on links: So remove it on elements such as buttons. It should be an optional element on content links, if furter information needs to be conveyed (but be aware not everyone will get this info).

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The benefits of using the title attribute would be improved accessibility (think screen reader software), as well as improving your keyword density and adding extra content for SEO. When done correctly they can also help usability by providing additional information, as was attempted with your sample website.

There are javascript functions and jquery functions which harness the title attribute into a better display, more like a tooltip.

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If the menu items are images they need alt text not tooltips, and I'm not sure SEO works like that anymore; keyword jamming has been treated very harshly by Google in the last few years. –  Ben Brocka May 26 '12 at 15:57

I don't see a disadvantage to using it for extra info, but you should never rely on people seeing the title text for important information.

If they are hovering over the text long enough for the title tag to pop up, they might appreciate additional information.

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A disadvantage can be that it could cover other content (and the title info box isn't very pretty) –  Ben Brocka Apr 3 '12 at 1:28
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@BenBrocka After playing with the linked site again, you're absolutely right. It's kind of annoying if you are reading through the list of menu items trying to make a choice and all of a sudden it pops up. –  Ben Durnell Apr 3 '12 at 1:39
    
I like the idea of being able to provide additional/ contextual information as an alternative to having to click through to find out/ validate their choice, but the title attribute seems to be so wrong if covering other menu choices is a result of that. Alternatively, browser makers could increase the time to reveal, although I suspect they have good reason to set it to half a second or thereabouts. –  James Apr 3 '12 at 9:37

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