Shelton School District

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​​​​Alternative Text

To meet accessibility standards, any non-text element needs to have an alternative text representation.

​What This Means For Published Content At The Shelton School District?

Non-text elements include pictures and charts found on any webpage or document.  These all need to have an appropriate text alternative. 

Text alternatives ("alt text") convey the purpose of an image, including pictures, illustrations, charts, etc. Text alternatives are used by people who do not see the image. (For example, people who are blind and use screen readers can hear the alt text read out; and people who have turned off images to speed download or save bandwidth can see the alt text.)

The text should be functional and provide an equivalent user experience, not necessarily describe the image. (For example, appropriate text alternative for a search button would be "search", not "magnifying glass".)

  • If an image conveys information useful for interacting with or understanding the web page content, then it needs alternative text.
  • If an image is just decorative and people don't need to know about the image, then it should have null alt (alt="")

What Do I Put As Alternative Text?

Follow the flowchart below to understand what you should use as appropriate alternative text.  Note that some links will link you to external content.  This flow chart was taken from a page from this W3C website (The group that created WCAG 2.0).

  • Does the image contain text?
    • Yes:
      • … and the text is also present as real text nearby.Use an empty alt attribute. See Decorative Images.
      • … and the text is only shown for visual effects.Use an empty alt attribute. See Decorative Images.
      • … and the text has a specific function, for example is an icon.Use the alt attribute to communicate the function of the image. See Functional Images.
      • … and the text in the image is not present otherwise.Use the alt attribute to include the text of the image. See Images of Text.
    • No:
      • Continue.
  • Is the image used in a link or a button, and would it be hard or impossible to understand what the link or the button does, if the image wasn’t there?
    • Yes:
      • Use the alt attribute to communicate the destination of the link or action taken. See Functional Images.
    • No:
      • Continue.
  • Does the image contribute meaning to the current page or context?
    • Yes:
      • … and it’s a simple graphic or photograph.Use a brief description of the image in a way that conveys that meaning in the alt attribute. See Informative Images.
      • … and it’s a graph or complex piece of information.Include the information contained in the image elsewhere on the page. See Complex Images.
      • … and it shows content that is redundant to real text nearby.Use an empty alt attribute. See (redundant) Functional Images.
    • No:
      • Continue.
  • Is the image purely decorative or not intended for the user?
  • Is the image’s use not listed above or it’s unclear what alt text to provide?
    • This decision tree does not cover all cases. For detailed information on the provision of text alternatives refer to the Image Concepts Page.​

Copyright © 2015 W3C® (MIT, ERCIM, Keio, Beihang). This software or document includes material copied from or derived from An alt Decision Tree • Images • WAI Web Accessibility Tutorials URL:

​​The Shelton School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following employee has been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination: Linda Arnold, Director of Human Resources. 360-426-1687. 700 S. 1st Street; Shelton, WA 98584. Complaint procedure can be found on this website under Board Policy #3210 (students) and #5010 (employees).