1. Accessibility & Legislation
  2. Common Issues
  3. Testing & Tools
  4. Analysing Your Site

2.01.11 Text equivalents: Summary

In conclusion

The "alt text" should reflect the function of the image in relation to the content so:

If the image has no meaning ie decorative:
Use a null alt text e.g. alt="".
If the image has only semantic meaning ie a rule, space or bullet:
Use a null alt text as it's just more noise to a screen reader.
If the image conveys the same meaning as written in the content text:
Use the shortest description possible, to the point of being curt.
Or use a null alt text if the image is not mentioned in the text.
If the image adds meaning to the content:
The alt text should succinctly reflect that additional meaning.
If it is not possible in less than 65 characters link to a full description elsewhere.
If the image is used as a heading:
The alt text should directly reflect the text in the graphic and be placed in heading elements.
Generally speaking:
A null alt text is always better than no alt text at all.
Requires a link to a text transcript.

Common issues