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Proper ALT text for navigation images

From: Web Accessibility Principles

Video: Proper ALT text for navigation images

>> For those not yet familiar with web accessibility the first thing they think of is alt tags on images. There's actually no such thing as an alt tag but it's true that images must be provided with alternative text and that failure to do so is one of the biggest problems for screen reader users and other people or devices that don't use images on the web. Both the section 508 and WCAG guidelines specify that text equivalents should be provided for every non text element. The primary requirement that this is met is through the alt attribute on the image element but its not the only way as we'll talk about in this and later movies.

Proper ALT text for navigation images

>> For those not yet familiar with web accessibility the first thing they think of is alt tags on images. There's actually no such thing as an alt tag but it's true that images must be provided with alternative text and that failure to do so is one of the biggest problems for screen reader users and other people or devices that don't use images on the web. Both the section 508 and WCAG guidelines specify that text equivalents should be provided for every non text element. The primary requirement that this is met is through the alt attribute on the image element but its not the only way as we'll talk about in this and later movies.

Also note that the standard is a text equivalent not a description of the image. The quality of the text you choose is just as important as whether it's there or not. We're going to look at a few different types of images and talk about high quality text that would be appropriate for there alt attributes. To practice adding alt text we are going to work on the file government.html. If you are following along with the exercise files, this page is located in the folder 0601 of the chapter six exercise files.

The first image on this page is the logo image. If we look down in the properties inspector and look inside the alt field you will see that it is blank, that means that it currently has no alt attributes set. We need to give it alternative text so that screen reader users and other who are not browsing images such as text browser users, people who are on very slow dial up connections or small screen devices such as cell phones and PDA's will be able to tell what the image is. We don't want to describe to image its not important to our users what the visual characteristics of the logo are.

We also don't want to say logo in the alt text. That again is the description and it's not important for our users to know that it's a logo, rather they need to know the information that the information conveys. The purpose for the is image is to identify the site as being about or by the town of Wardscott so click inside the alt field in the properties inspector and type town of Wardscott. In general an image of text ought to have the same text set for its alt attribute.

For example if you had graphic buttons being used for links you would use the alt attribute services on the services button. You wouldn't use the text services button or services image for the alternative text if you just use the same text that is shown on the face of the button. Alt test is especially important when the image has a link surrounding it. In these cases the alt text effectively becomes the link text and as we talked about earlier its very important for our link text to be clear and meaningful.

Scroll down the government page in Dreamweaver. There is a table at the bottom of the page with a number of DOC and PDF icons that are met to link to public meeting minutes documents. Each one of these images needs to have alt text explains what the user will get by clicking on the icon. So click on the first icon, go down to the properties inspector and click inside the alt field, type word doc town council 5/31/08 meeting minutes.

So here for the alt text we used a description of where the link points to, this is the general practice you should follow for any images that are being used for navigation. Now lets click on the first PDF icon then go down to the properties inspector and click in the alt field. Here we'll type PDF of town council 5/31/08 meeting minutes.

You would follow this process on through the page for each one of these icons. Again note that we haven't described what these images look like or put the word image, icon, graphic, anything of that nature inside of there alt text instead we've described what the purpose of the images. So follow these guidelines for creating text equivalents for your images whenever they convey information. Sometimes though images are not conveying information rather they are decorative, other times the image is conveying information but that information is given elsewhere on the page.

In these situations it can be harmful to accessibility to put text in the alt attribute. We'll talk about that next.

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This video is part of

Image for Web Accessibility Principles
Web Accessibility Principles

68 video lessons · 25680 viewers

Zoe Gillenwater
Author

 
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  1. 2m 0s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      57s
  2. 33m 15s
    1. What does accessibility mean?
      5m 51s
    2. How does accessibility help your users?
      3m 30s
    3. Experiencing a website via a screen reader
      5m 46s
    4. How does accessibility help you and your clients?
      3m 9s
    5. Overview of Section 508 standards
      5m 51s
    6. Overview of WCAG standards
      6m 4s
    7. Understanding consistency and semantic markup
      3m 4s
  3. 54m 31s
    1. Understanding screen readers and accessibility tools
      6m 12s
    2. Getting accessible browsers
      5m 41s
    3. Customizing Firefox for accessibility testing
      5m 53s
    4. Using custom accessibility toolbars
      5m 28s
    5. Using Fangs and the Color Contrast Analyzer
      5m 30s
    6. Accessibility tools to bookmark
      5m 53s
    7. Using automated accessibility checking tools
      4m 57s
    8. Setting up the JAWS screen reader on Windows
      6m 42s
    9. Using the VoiceOver screen reader on Mac OS X
      5m 52s
    10. Setting Dreamweaver accessibility preferences
      2m 23s
  4. 26m 12s
    1. Avoiding tables for layout
      3m 30s
    2. Using CSS for layout
      2m 40s
    3. Creating a fixed-width layout
      5m 51s
    4. Creating an elastic layout
      3m 51s
    5. Creating a liquid layout
      3m 4s
    6. Customizing a liquid layout
      7m 16s
  5. 1h 6m
    1. Specifying the language
      3m 43s
    2. Setting page titles
      2m 16s
    3. Setting headings and paragraphs
      9m 55s
    4. Styling headings
      9m 56s
    5. Hiding section headings from sighted users
      6m 41s
    6. Styling text for readability
      6m 41s
    7. Ensuring proper color contrast
      6m 36s
    8. Creating text emphasis
      4m 29s
    9. Indicating quotations
      4m 29s
    10. Creating basic lists
      4m 16s
    11. Styling lists
      7m 15s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Using lists for navigation
      6m 45s
    2. Creating a horizontal navigation bar
      13m 25s
    3. Creating a vertical navigation bar
      11m 44s
    4. Adding skip navigation links
      12m 0s
    5. Hiding skip navigation links
      6m 17s
    6. Proper link text and title attributes
      6m 11s
    7. Opening new windows
      4m 28s
    8. Accessibility limitations of fly-out menus
      6m 30s
    9. Creating an accessible fly-out menu
      8m 38s
  7. 27m 55s
    1. Proper ALT text for navigation images
      4m 57s
    2. Proper ALT text for decorative images
      5m 19s
    3. Adding ALT text to an existing site
      6m 9s
    4. Adding ALT text to image maps
      5m 58s
    5. Describing complex graphics
      5m 32s
  8. 34m 1s
    1. Using tables for data
      3m 0s
    2. Creating header cells
      4m 5s
    3. Adding table captions and summaries
      9m 9s
    4. Styling tables
      5m 19s
    5. Applying header cells to complex tables
      6m 52s
    6. Adding id and headers attributes
      5m 36s
  9. 42m 7s
    1. Understanding form accessibility issues
      3m 7s
    2. Labeling form fields
      6m 9s
    3. Adding fieldsets and legends
      4m 42s
    4. Moving forms out of tables
      3m 44s
    5. Cleaning up a form's appearance
      4m 53s
    6. Aligning labels and fields using CSS
      9m 39s
    7. Indicating required fields
      6m 15s
    8. Dealing with CAPTCHA
      3m 38s
  10. 7m 29s
    1. The Text-Only technique
      3m 21s
    2. The Access Keys technique
      2m 35s
    3. The Tab Index technique
      1m 33s
  11. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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