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Re: Question About Alternative Text


From: Jonathan Avila
Date: Aug 10, 2020 10:46AM

I saw a site where the image of the product (a smoothie) communicated information about the ingredients that were not in the name of the product on the same page. While the user could have drilled down into subsequent pages to find this information alt text would be really invaluable in this situation as a sighted person is instantly cued into the smoothie by the ingredients and not just the name.

I also find sites that intentionally communicate diversity in images to encourage a wide group of people to do something such as get a vaccine or images that communicate a healthcare professional to lend credibility to an article -- these images were chosen on purpose to communicate something and thus it can be important to provide alt text.


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From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of Mallory
Sent: Thursday, August 6, 2020 7:56 AM
To: glen walker < <EMAIL REMOVED> >; WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Question About Alternative Text

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Many users say they like good alt text, but when the site I'm auditing is using stock images simply to break up blocks of text, I feel it's decorative as well.

But I may mention it to the client anyway. I'm a terse/to the point person who would grimace at even a decent description of "white woman smiling at a salad" type photos, but I am not the user, and the client may be aware of whether they have a user segment that reacts to those kinds of photos.
For example, if this is a "white women lose weight and find their spirit animals through smoothies and yoga" blog site, it may be a better recommendation that the site authors *don't* treat those as decorative images. Even when they're clearly stock photos bought randomly from a stock package. If they're adding a mood, or encouraging a purchase, they really might fall under content.

For a recent bank audit where for little article blurbs they had stock photos of things like piles of paper bills, stock-price graphs with no names (just a generic STONKS graphic), oxfords-not-brogues businessman shoes, etc. I was happy to let them use alt="". I can't imagine what kind of alt text they could add that wouldn't be awful.

But wouldn't mind hearing more about what the end-users prefer.


On Wed, Aug 5, 2020, at 4:51 PM, glen walker wrote:
> If I were auditing that site, if the classroom pic had an empty alt
> text, I would be fine with it. If it had a descriptive alt text, I
> would be fine with it, but I agree with David that alt text can be a creative art form.
> It's kind of a "can't lose" situation in your scenario. I don't often
> ping decorative images with alt text unless it's something like a
> horizontal line divider and the alt text is "horizontal line divider".
> That really should be hidden. But pictures that don't add meaning,
> while I prefer them to be hidden, if they have a decent alt text and
> don't distract from what's going on, I usually leave alone. I might
> make a note that the alt text isn't needed but there's no reason to
> pull it out. I note it for the client's future reference.
> If I were implementing that site, I would have an empty alt text.
> It's decorative to me.
> > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> >