Testing for IMG markup using the JAWS screen reader


JAWS (an acronym for Job Access With Speech) is a screen reader, a software program for visually impaired users, produced by the Blind and Low Vision Group at Freedom Scientific of St. Petersburg, Florida, USA. Its purpose is to make personal computers using Microsoft Windows accessible to blind and visually impaired users. It accomplishes this by providing the user with access to the information displayed on the screen via text-to-speech or by means of a Braille display and allows for comprehensive keyboard interaction with the computer.


  • Directly testing content with major assistive technology


  • No automated tests of rules
  • User must perform a series of manual checks
  • User must discern between an image name and alt text

Step 1: Find the graphics on the web page and ensure they have meaningful alt text


  1. Ensure that the graphic verbosity is set to “All Graphics”. (Configuration Manager > Set Options > HTML Options > Graphics > All Graphics)
  2. Load the page to be tested in your browser window.
  3. Cycle through the images by entering INSERT+G in Internet Explorer and Firefox. Determine if images have meaningful alt text. Make a note of image names without alt text.

Rules Evaluated with this Technique

Rules evaluated with JAWS 11 Screen Reader with Internet Explorer 8.0 and Firefox 3.6

Every img element must have alt attribute.


Descriptions should be meaningful and contain at least 7 and less than 90 characters.


The alt attribute content should not include file name of the image.


The alt attribute content should not include information that is redundant with the img element.