Accessible Images



Images can cause barriers to people with disabilities but when they are made accessible they can improve the experience for all. 

People with cognitive and learning disabilities: Images and graphics make content easier to understand.

People using screen readers: The text alternative can be read aloud or rendered as Braille.

People using speech input software: Users can put the focus onto a button or linked image with a single voice command.

People browsing speech-enabled websites: The text alternative can be read aloud.

Mobile web users: Images can be turned off, especially for data-roaming.

Search engine optimization: Images become indexable by search engines.


How to

Only use images that serve a purpose. When in doubt, it’s best to sacrifice beauty for accessibility and usability.

  • Branding
  • Photos or illustrations that contribute to the story that the content is telling (e.g. happy, healthy families on a health and wellness-focused website)
  • Maps 
  • Informative illustrations, charts, and graphs
  • Icons
  • Animations 

Learn how to add alt text to complex images.




Always include alternative (alt) text

All images must include alternative text that can adequately portray the content or function of the image. According to, alternative text should typically:

  • Be descriptive in presenting the same content and function of the image as clearly as possible.
  • Not be redundant if the same information is provided within the text of the document. (In this case, write “” as the alt text.)
  • Not use the phrases “image of” or “table of” as this is usually clear to the user.

Learn more


Resources for State of Colorado Agencies

Siteimprove: Siteimprove’s software helps to improve State website usability and accessibility by automating the process of finding errors and problems. Siteimprove alone will not make websites accessible but is part of a holistic approach to managing web services.

For questions about using Siteimprove or Siteimprove Academy, please contact Theresa Montano, OIT Solutions Architect of Accessibility at

Don't have access to Siteimprove? Use these free browser extensions:

Siteimprove Academy, Siteimprove (Requires a login)

To request accessibility testing: