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ALT Text - CMS Problem


From: David Ashleydale
Date: Apr 14, 2011 4:18PM


I have a conundrum that I'd love to hear some perspectives on. We have a
content management system at work that forces users to enter non-null ALT
text for every image on a web page -- even images that are deemed

First, do you think I should get them to fix this system so that users can
choose whether an image gets ALT text or null ALT text? One of the potential
problems with doing that is it might result in meaningful images getting
null ALT text because the page authors could then just "skip them" by
choosing null. Since we are now forcing page authors to think about ALT
text, they're at least trying and they cannot proceed without assigning ALT
text to every image. And we do have a much higher percentage of meaningful
images than decorative images on our site.

Is it worth possibly increasing the number of meaningful images with null
ALT text in order to correctly assign null ALT text to decorative images?

Second, if we do leave the system the way it is, what are some good
guidelines to give to page authors when they are confronted with having to
come up with ALT text for decorative images? I'm sure "keep it short" is one
good tip -- any others?

David Ashleydale