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Fact file3.9 Images and Accessibility

 

Accessibility standards for websites ensure that web designers take the varying needs of their users, including those with disabilities, into consideration. Websites should incorporate features that enable everyone to access the content, whether they are blind or partially sighted, hearing impaired, suffer from dyslexia, simply using a slow internet connection with images turned off to speed things up, or using a text-only browser.

A photograph of a chicken wrap on a plate with grapes and tomatoesThese days many websites are very graphically intensive and use a large number of images – not only logos and pictures, but also graphics for buttons and as titles in place of text. It is important that your site makes sense without relying totally on images.

Blind and partially sighted people frequently use a piece of software called a screen reader to access internet pages. This type of software reads aloud all the text on the screen. Screen readers work well when the page is mainly text, but can be a problem when images and graphics are used in place of text. Screen readers cannot read any graphical versions of text used in fancy logos and headings. They cannot interpret photographs or other images used on the site.

It is strongly recommended that for every graphic you use, whether this is a photograph, a logo or a button, an alternate piece of text is attached that provides a title and a description of the image. This is known as ALT Text (Alternative Text).

This ALT Text appears as a tooltip when a user moves their mouse over the image, and can be read out by screen reader software. You can also view this text if you have images turned off in your web browser. Put your mouse over the image of the chicken wrap on this page to see what the ALT text looks like.

an example of some alt text

For more information about web accessibility, you can visit the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at http://www.w3.org/WAI/.

How to attach ALT Text to an image in Serif WebPlus is explained in the helpsheet How to Insert Images

paperclipHow to Insert Images

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