Ensure that decorative images are not presented to users.
Ensure that decorative images have an empty alt attribute (
alt=""). [WCAG 1.1.1 - A]
Not every image in a publication contains information that is important to understanding the text. Decorative flair might be used to highlight the start of a new chapter, but the shape and form of these visuals is irrelevant to understanding the text. Similarly, a textbook might include decorative photographs to start new sections that are only intended to fill out a page visually.
When an image is purely decorative, its
alt attribute should be left empty. This
signals to assistive technologies not to announce the presence of the image, saving users the
nuisance of trying to understand why an image without a description is present.
For additional insurance that decorative images will not be announced, the ARIA
attribute with the property
presentation can be attached. This
practice is used by some publishers to ensure that an editor has checked all images with empty
alt attributes to verify they are decorative.
It is best practice to add an ARIA role if an image is purely decorative, but it is not required for conformance with WCAG.
Although the role
none is preferred over
presentation as of ARIA 1.1,
it is not well supported. The ARIA 1.1
specification recommends using either
presentation alone or as a fallback