Empty Alternative text for decorative images


While alternative descriptions for informational images are necessary for accessibility, alternative descriptions for images that are purely decorative or stylistic negatively impact accessibility. Decorative images or images that are used solely for styling the page should have the ALT attributes value set equal to "". For example, often novice web developers will know that all images are required to have an ALT attribute, and so they will assign descriptive text values to all image ALTs, including non-informational "spacer," "bullet," or "glyph" images and purely decorative images. Such usage decreases the usability of web pages for blind users because it introduces extra verbal clutter and increases the potential for confusion.

In this test we want to find out:

  1. Are ALT texts set to empty for decorative and stylistic images? Setting the ALT value to NULL ("") causes the screen reader to ignore the image.


Thorough examination


Manual and time consuming

Step 1: To be added later


Rules Evaluated with this Technique

Rules evaluated with Keyboard Testing of Basic Links, Forms and Scripting

Images should not be used for styling

  • Small inline images should not be used for styling.