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Discussion on: Should color be included in alt text?

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joan profile image
Joan Concilio • Edited on

I use the same decision tree about color as I do age, gender and ethnicity: Is the image important because of one of those factors?

The comment about the red lake is a good example of that. We're showing the image because the lake is red and that's the notable thing we're trying to depict.

On a page for our university about diversity, we describe "A group of students from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds." It isn't relevant that there is one brown-skinned student, one student who appears to be Asian, etc. - not to mention those are "guesses" that could be wrong. The idea is we're illustrating a diverse student body.

Same with ages: An elderly woman looks at a young child matters if the content is about the effects of spending time with grandchildren on the health of older people; if it's just a story about Christmas traditions, the age may not be relevant.

And, because I have to throw it in anywhere I can: If nothing about your image matters, don't use the image. Design for design's sake is annoying whether you use assistive technology or not.

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Karen Fletcher Author

Thank you so much for your answer. Treating it like a decision tree really helps, and I really appreciate the examples you give!