Accessible Images

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Impact

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.

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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.

 

 

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Always include alternative (alt) text

All images must include alternative text that can adequately portray the content or function of the image. According to WebAIM.org, 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.
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Learn more

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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 theresa.montano@state.co.us.

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

Siteimprove Academy, Siteimprove (Requires a login)

To request accessibility testing: