Image without Important Information Appears to a Screen Reader

Archived Issue

Current Iteration of Issue

Short Description

Unimportant graphics have either no alt text or alt text that does not contribute to understanding page content

Long Description

  • A screen reader reads all information on a page in the same manner. The screen reader user then processes the information to determine its usefulness, importance, meaning, etc. Someone who is sighted can more quickly, often without being aware of it, filter out and ignore unimportant information. Thus, a sighted person almost ignores graphics or images that are only there for aesthetic reasons, whereas a screen reader user has to listen to the alt text before determining that it is unimportant.
  • If an important graphic or image has no alt text, the screen reader will usually still identify it as a graphic and assign it a meaningless name such as the file name. As a result, the user is left uncertain as to the content of the graphic or image and thus does not know whether or not it is important.
  • The null alt text (alt="") and no title attribute will lead to the screen reader completely skipping an image or graphic.

Example of Issue


  • Use the null alt text and no title attribute for any graphic or image that only serves visual or aesthetic purposes.



Impacted Assistive Technology

Screen Reader

Impacted Type of Device