ALT Text and Text Alternatives

ALT Text Overview

ALT Text Code

Definition

Alternate text (ALT text) accessibility means that when non-text elements (e.g., images, form controls, embedded objects, multimedia, players, etc.) are unavailable, they are replaced by text that conveys the same information and provides the same functionality as the non-text element.

ALT text is a widely misunderstood concept.  ALT text should reflect the meaning of the image, describe the function of the image, and provide a reference to more information about the image where necessary.  Empty (or "null") ALT text should be used only for decorative images, or images to which descriptive text is positioned in close proximity.

Why is this an accessibility issue?

Many users are unable to perceive graphic images that are embedded in a web page.  For these users, the information and function of those images is lost unless an alternate representation is provided.

Conformance

Non-text elements meet accessibility criteria if:

  • All information contained in the non-text element is perceivable by the user
  • All functionality contained in the non-text element is operable by the user
  • Decorative images contain empty ALT text
  • Adjacent text and image ALT does not repeat, or "stutter"
  • No other barriers to accessibility exist