Anyone who knows anything about internet accessibility knows that images want alternative, or ALT, text assigned to them. The reason is , screen readers can’t understand images, but instead read out loud the alternative text assigned to them. In Internet Explorer we can see this ALT text, simply by mousing over the image and looking at the yellowish tooltip that appears. Other browsers (correctly) don’t try this. The HTML for applying ALT text message is:

But absolutely there can not be a skill to writing ALT text designed for images? You just pop a description in there and you’re all set, right? Well, kind of. Sure, it’s not rocket research, but there are a few guidelines you have to follow…

Spacer photos and lacking ALT textual content

Spacer images should be assigned null ALT text, or alt=””. This way most screen readers will completely ignore the picture and just isn’t going to even publicize its presence. Spacer photos are disguised . images that pretty most websites apply. The purpose of them is, as the name suggests, to create space relating to the page. Occasionally it’s not possible to create the visual screen you need, so you can stick an image in (specifying its elevation and width) and voli’, you have the extra space you require.

Certainly not everyone uses this null ALT text message for spacer images. Some websites stick in alt=”spacer image”. Imagine how annoying this can be for a screen reader user, especially when you have ten of those in a line. A screen reader would definitely say, “Image, spacer image” ten intervals in a line (screen visitors usually say the word, “Image”, before examining out it is ALT text) – now that isn’t helpful!

Additional web developers basically leave out the ALT characteristic for spacer images (and perhaps additional images). In cases like this, most screen readers will certainly read out your filename, which could be ‘newsite/images/’. A screen reader might announce this kind of image seeing that “Image, news site slash images reduce one position spacer department of transportation gif”. Envision what this would sound like in the event that there were fifteen of these in a row!

Bullets and icons

Bullets and icons ought to be treated in much the same method as spacer images, so should be given null different text, or perhaps alt=””. Think about a list of products with a the latest bullet going forward each item. If ALT text, ‘Bullet’ is designated to each graphic then, “Image, bullet” will be read aloud by display screen readers ahead of each list item, so that it is take that bit much longer to work through record.

Icons, usually utilized to complement links, should also be assigned alt=””. Many websites, which will place the icon next to the link textual content, use the hyperlink text mainly because the ALT text of this icon. Display screen readers would definitely first announce this ALT text, and next the link text, so would then the link 2 times, which naturally isn’t required.

(Ideally, bullets and icons needs to be called as background images through the CSS document – this would remove them from the HTML document totally and therefore eliminate the need for virtually any ALT information. )

Decorative images

Ornamental images too should be designated null alternative text, or alt=””. In the event that an image is normally pure perspective candy, then there’s no requirement for a screen reader end user to also know they have there and being enlightened of its presence simply adds to the environmental noise.

However, you could argue that the images on your own site generate a brand id and by concealing them out of screen target audience users you will absolutely denying this group of users the same encounter. Accessibility professionals tend to favour the former disagreement, but generally there certainly is mostly a valid advantages of the latter as well.

The navigation & text message embedded within just images

Navigation choices that require complicated text be forced to embed the text within an image. In this circumstances, the ALT text really should not be used to enlarge on the impression. Under no circumstances should the ALT text say, ‘Read all about each of our fantastic expertise, designed to assist you in everything you do’. If the menu item says, ‘Services’ then your ALT text should also claim ‘Services ALT text must always describe a few possibilities of the image and should repeat the text word-for-word. If you want to expand for the navigation, including in this example, you can use it attribute.

The same applies for virtually every other text message embedded inside an image. The ALT textual content should simply repeat, word-for-word, the text included within that image.

(Unless the font being used is especially unique it’s often pointless to embed text within images — advanced the navigation and history effects can now be achieved with CSS. )


Websites tend to vary in the way they apply ALT text to logos. A lot of say, Company name, others Business name logo, and other describe the function for the image (usually a link returning to the homepage),? Back to home’. Remember, ALT text should describe the information of the image so the earliest example, alt=”Company name”, is just about the best. In case the logo is a link back towards the homepage, then simply this can be properly communicated throughout the title point.


Publishing effective ALT text isn’t too hard. If it’s a decorative image consequently null option text, or perhaps alt=”” ought to usually provide – do not, ever omit the ALT attribute. In the event the image has text then this ALT text message should easily repeat this text message, word-for-word. Keep in mind, ALT text message should explain the content of the image and nothing more.

Do become sure also to keep ALT text while short and succinct as it can be. Listening to an online page with a screen subscriber takes a lot longer than traditional strategies, so no longer make the searching experience irritating to screen visitor users with bloated and unnecessary ALT text. Click here for more: