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Images and alternate text

Besides ‘regular’ text, images are the most common information tool on the Web. This is also where most accessibility problems occur. After all, how can someone who cannot see an image understand what it means? The answer is text, the basis of accessible information.

This chapter is about writing alternate texts for the benefit of visitors who cannot see images:

  • Blind visitors (and other users of speech browsers and Braille displays)
  • Visitors who have disabled images in their settings
  • Visitors with slow connections (resulting in long images loading-stimes)
  • People who use text browsers
  • Search spiders

“Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element (e.g., via alt, longdesc, or in element content). This includes: images, graphical representations of text (including symbols), image map regions, animations (e.g., animated GIFs), (…) images used as list bullets, spacers, graphical buttons (…).”

Links and references

Web Guidelines version 1.3, November 2007.