Access for All Weekly Tip
For the week of August 27 - 31
Not all users can see the images. Some may be using assistive technology like screen readers or other text-to-speech software which reads the page out loud, and this software will read the alt text instead of the image. There are other situations when the alt text is used too, for instance, if a user has images turned off then they will see the alt text instead of the image.
Adding an image or a graphic to your content without using proper or empty alternative attributes (alt tags), can be extremely frustrating for people with visual impairments navigating your site through assistive technologies.
Adding alternative text for images is the first principle of web accessibility. It is also one of the most difficult to properly implement. Alternative text conveys the content and functionality (if present) of an image. It is very rarely a description of what the image looks like. When authoring alternative text, consider what the core information presented by the image is. Asking the question, "If you could not use the image, what text would you use to replace it?" is often a good test to determine appropriate alternative text.
When using image alt text, it should not include:
Screen readers automatically announce an image as an image. So an alternative text “Image of an apple” would be read aloud by a screen reader as “image, Image of an apple”.
Call Oklahoma ABLE Tech (800-257-1705) for accommodation ideas or to borrow assistive technology. ABLE Tech’s AT Device Demonstration and Short-Term Loan Program works just like a book library. Here are some devices that relate to this article:
SARA CE Scanning and Reading Device
Voice Dream Reader App
Clear Reader +
Oregon State University “Alternative Text for Images”
MRWWeb Design “It’s ALT Good: Alternative Text & Accessibility”
AbilityNet “Five Golden Rules for Compliant Text”
Site Improve “Accessibility: Image Alt Text Best Practices”
Need funding to assist in the purchase of assistive devices? Oklahoma ABLE Tech offers a comprehensive online guide for Oklahoma Funding for AT. Additionally, ABLE Tech, in partnership with Oklahoma Assistive Technology Foundation (OkAT) and BancFirst of Stillwater, offers Financial Loans to purchase assistive technology. Several programs of funding are available, all with LOW interest rate and flexible repayment terms, as well as special qualification opportunities for applicants who might not qualify for a traditional bank loan. For questions on the Financial Loan opportunities, call Shelley Gladden for more information at 800-257-1705.
Rob Carr, Accessibility Coordinator
Linda Jaco, Associate Director for Sponsored Programs