Re: HTML image with a null/blank/empty alt

Just to add a note I don't see here, you can set jaws to provide information 
on all graphics no matter what the alt.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gez Lemon" <>
To: "Schnabel, Stefan" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2007 8:19 AM
Subject: Re: HTML image with a null/blank/empty alt

Hi Stefan,

On 25/06/07, Schnabel, Stefan <> wrote:
It has been reported that Jaws 7.1 and above ignores an image in HTML if the
image tag has a blank alt attribute like alt=" ". FreedomScientific claims
that this is the industry standard and a WAI recommendation. If an image has
a blank attribute, it is to be ignored by the screen reader no matter what
other attributes it contains. Does anybody know if such a recommendation
exists from WAI? And where can I find that?

I don't know of any recommendation that states that a screen reader
must ignore images if null alt text is provided, as there are
circumstances where that just wouldn't be possible (such as where an
image is used as the link phrase for a target element with no other
text in the link phrase). Also, JAWS 7.1 and above doesn't ignore
images in these circumstances, but will try and provide context from
other attributes.

In terms of images that have no functional purpose with a null alt
attribute, then I think JAWS' approach of ignoring the image is
correct. For example, it wouldn't make sense to provide a URI to the
long description of something that is unlabelled, as a user wouldn't
know what they were getting a description of. Similarly, it wouldn't
make sense to provide advisory information through the title
attribute, as there would be no context for the extra information. If
the image has a non-decorative purpose, then it should have
appropriate alt text - if it doesn't have any purpose other than
decoration, then ideally it should be included in the presentation
layer with CSS.

Best regards,


Supplement your vitamins

Received on Monday, 25 June 2007 13:47:32 UTC