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Images

Leaving out alt text will cause users of Lynx, screen readers, and other nonmainstream browsers and devices to hear or see [IMAGE] [IMAGE] [IMAGE] [IMAGE] [IMAGE] [IMAGE] or something equally unhelpful. For a visual example, flip back to Chapter 2, “Designing & Building with Standards,” Figure 2.5. Lack of alt texts will also be flagged as a WAI access error and an XHTML validation error. Use the alt attribute to the img element (http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WCAG20/checkpoints.html) to describe the purpose of each image.

Your Friend, the null alt Attribute

For meaningless images, such as spacer GIFs (not that you're still using spacer GIF images), use alt="", also known as the null alt attribute, or null alt text. Do not compound users' problems with literal alt text for meaningless images like alt="pixel spacer gif" or alt="table cell background color gradient". Use the null alt attribute for images that are intended to create purely visual (nonmeaningful, nonsemantic) design effects.


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