Non-Text Elements

When a document contains an element that is not native text, it needs to contain a description so non-visual users can understand what is being conveyed. The text description should explain what the element is conveying, not necessarily what it looks like. Some examples on non-text content would be:

  • Images
  • Word Art
  • Charts/graphs
  • Decorative images such as backgrounds

Best Practice

All non-text items that have meaning (background or aesthetic images are excluded) must include descriptive text equivalents that convey the same meaning as the visual item.

Benefits to Users and Developers

  • Text equivalents appears as a Tool Tip providing additional information for all users.
  • Text equivalents establish context, provide visual interest, or assist with navigation.
  • Text equivalents provide visual information in a non-graphical environment.
  • Users of assistive devices such as screen readers or refreshable Braille use text equivalents to describe non-text items.

Creating Text Equivalents