Accessible images

Creating Accessible Course Content: Images

Let’s talk about IMAGES.

For those of us that are not visually impaired an image can communicate a lot of information without words. However for those that are blind or visually impaired, missing “alternative text” results in a screen reader delivering the following information to the reader: “image”.

This is not really helpful if the purpose of the image is to support or illustrate a concept, i.e. A chart depicting the % of US adults who use at least one social media site between 2006 and 2018.

A chart depicting the % of US adults who use at least one social media site between 2006 and 2018.

What does a screen reader read?

  • Screen readers will read the alternative text of images, if alt text is present. JAWS precedes the alternative text with the word “graphic.” If the image is a link, JAWS precedes the alternative text with “graphic link.”
  • Screen readers ignore images without alternative text and say nothing, but users can set their preferences to read the file name.
  • If an image without alternative text is a link, screen readers will generally read the link destination (the href attribute in the HTML markup) or may read the image file name.

Excerpt from “Designing for Screen Reader Compatibility”

For a “How To” on adding good alternative text to images please check out Alt text blunders on WebAIM.

How to add alt text to images

So how do you add “alt text” to an image?  That would depend on what software application you are using to develop your content.

Here is one example:   In MS Word 2016 you can find the alt text feature under “Format Picture” layout and properties.

For adding Alternative Text in other applications check out the following resources:

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