Text Alternative for Non-Text Content

Text Alternative for Non-Text Content

As we slowly convey more and more information through multimedia elements, it becomes more important than ever to ensure accessibility for all users, including those with disabilities. 

One crucial aspect of web accessibility is the provision of text alternatives for non-text content, a practice that greatly improves the user experience for individuals with visual or cognitive impairments

In this article, we will explore the significance of text alternatives, delve into the related WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) rules, and discuss key considerations for implementing effective text alternatives.

Why are text alternatives important?

Non-text content, such as images, videos, and audio, plays a significant role in conveying information on websites and applications. 

However, for users who rely on screen readers, braille displays, or other assistive technologies, comprehending and engaging with non-text content can be challenging

Text alternatives act as a bridge, providing descriptive information that enables users with disabilities to effectively understand and interact with the content. It avoids common accessibility issues.

Relevance to WCAG

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) include specific criteria regarding the provision of text alternatives. The following WCAG compliance guidelines are particularly relevant:

1.1.1 Non-text Content

This guideline emphasizes the necessity of providing text alternatives for all non-text content. It ensures that users with disabilities can access the same information as those without.

1.2.1 Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded)

For prerecorded audio-only and video-only content, an alternative means of accessing the information or an audio description is required to ensure that users with visual or auditory impairments can comprehend the content.

1.4.5 Images of Text

When images of text are utilized, such as in logos or decorative elements, text alternatives must be provided to ensure that the content remains accessible to all users.

Implementing Effective Text Alternatives

Ensuring the effectiveness of text alternatives involves taking into account different factors:

1. Descriptive yet Concise

Text alternatives should be descriptive enough to convey the meaning of non-text content, while also being concise to avoid overwhelming users with excessive information.

2. Contextual Understanding

Consider the context in which the non-text content is presented. The alternative text should provide meaningful information that is relevant to the user's understanding of the overall content.

3. Utilizing the Alt Attribute

Make use of the "alt" attribute in HTML to provide text alternatives for images. This ensures that screen readers can accurately convey the information to users.

4. Complex Content

For complex content, such as charts or graphs, it is important to consider providing additional descriptive text or linking to a separate accessible document that explains the content in detail.

Key Takeaways

1. Compliance with WCAG Guidelines

Adhering to the guidelines set by the WCAG compliance ensures that digital content is accessible to users with disabilities, promoting inclusivity and equal access to information.

2. Importance of Descriptive Alternatives

Text alternatives should be carefully crafted, striking a balance between being descriptive and concise in order to enhance user understanding without overwhelming them.

3. Consideration for Various Content Types

Different types of non-text content require tailored approaches to text alternatives. Whether it's images, videos, or audio, a comprehensive web accessibility strategy is essential.

In conclusion, integrating text alternatives into non-text content goes beyond being a legal or compliance requirement. It is a crucial step towards creating a more inclusive online environment

Wally can help you automate this process. Simply add your website/product/application to Wally. We would automatically add the required text alternatives, along with making all the changes that would make your offering completely accessible.

Speak to our accessibility expert to get detailed insights.

By following WCAG guidelines and considering the diverse needs of users, we contribute to a digital accessibility landscape, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can fully participate in the online experience.