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Re: Question about image in the alt attribute


From: Chagnon | PubCom
Date: Jul 30, 2014 8:28PM

Please keep in mind that WCAG's standards/guidelines for Alt-text aren't
only for those who are fully blind. Partially-sighted and low-vision users
rely on Alt-text, also. People with various dyslexia as well as
autism/Asperger's also benefit from Alt-text on graphics because it can help
reinforce their perception of the graphic.

From my personal experience with close friends and family members with
varying degrees of visual disabilities, I've often been asked "what's this
picture of?" They could detect that a photo was in the document but could
only see shapes or a fuzzy rendition of it. Alt-text, even simple wording
such as "High-school age girl and boy holding hands outside a school" would
go a long way to help this group of AT users perceive the graphic.

To call this type of graphic decorative is a misnomer. It has much more
purpose than just unnecessary decoration. Yes, it can "orient" the reader or
reinforce the topic, but most importantly it's a psychological draw for
sighted users and pictures with human or animal faces are the biggest draws,
regardless of the material's topic. Babies, seductive women, and cute animal
faces are the top 3 draws.

In your case (web-based training where graphics aren't critical to the
material), I suggest to take an inclusive approach and accommodate the
broadest range of users possible by including Alt-text on these graphics,
but keeping it very short, minimalist.

And if necessary, hire a professional editor to write the Alt-text,
preferably one schooled in accessibility guidelines.

-Bevi Chagnon
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