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Alternate Text

It is required that you add alternate text for each figure, table, or any object that is not text in your document (e.g., schemes, examples, etc.). Word processing programs have a utility for adding alternate text to tables and figures. The alternate text should function as an explanation of what a person without impeded vision can observe that a person with impaired or absent vision cannot. For figures, do repeat the information in the caption. Instead, provide cursory details about the very appearance of the image itself. See Figure A.1 for an example of appropriate alt text for a figure. 

For tables, do not relay the exact contents in each cell. Screen-reading software is capable of reading the contents of most tables; however, this amount of information can be difficult to process without visual supplement. Instead, provide an overview of the table’s purpose to your readers. The alternate text for a table goes beyond the information provided in the title or any supplementing text, outlining the goal for including it. In all cases, also avoid repeating any descriptors located within the body of the text. See Figure A.2 for an example of suitable alternate text for a table. 

Color Contrast

When creating visual aids, take into account how colors appear next to other colors. Take care to use the best quality images possible for all content. When using images that are not user-created, there will be scenarios in which the color/contrast between color cannot be manually manipulated. As such, requirements for adequate color contrast applies mostly to charts and graphs as well as images with embedded text. There are two methods for analyzing color contrast for acceptability. 

The first method involves changing the image to black and white/grayscale. When looking at the grayscale version of an image, each shade of gray should be easily perceptible from one another. Shades lacking in contrast will need to be changed in the color version of the image. 

The second method is to use color contrast analyzing software such as Monsido’s Color Contrast Checker, WAVE, or Colour Contrast Analyser. This will provide a numerical value for the contrast determined between each color. Comparing the results to that program’s listed acceptable contrast levels determines if changes need to be made to the colors used in the image. 

Note that both of these methods are inexact. It may beneficial to use both methods, as neither one is capable of taking into account the full range of possible color combinations. Figures A.3 – A.6 illustrate accessible and inaccessible color contrast for figures. 

Accessibility Issues in Table Construction

Merging or splitting cells confuses screen reading software. Similarly, nesting a table within another table is not considered accessible. If necessary, create additional tables to separate out the information. 

Rows or columns should not be left blank. Delete any extra rows or columns. 

Last Updated: 8/24/22