Creating Alternative Text

Why is alternative text necessary?

  • It is read by screen readers in place of images allowing the content and function of the image to be accessible to those with visual or certain cognitive disabilities.
  • It is displayed in place of the image in browsers if the image file is not loaded or when the user has chosen not to view images.
  • It provides a semantic meaning and description to images which can be read by search engines.

Faculty often have difficulty understanding how they provide alternative text for complex images, functional images, or even image maps. The W3C's Alt Text Tutorials provide excellent guidance. Use the W3C website to understand how alternative text functions with screen-readers and how a two-part text alternative is often required (alternative text + long description). 

The W3C's "Complex Images"

The W3C's "An alt Decision Tree"

Back to Faculty Four of Accessible Development