Icons and Branding Requirement

Overview

Icons and other related graphical symbols are an important method to "brand" a web resource in association with a particular entity or concept. Considerable amount of resources are often spent for developing and protecting graphical logos and design schemes that uniquely identify the brand. In the context of the web, the text equivalent for these types of branding images should reflect the identity represented by them, and not their visual graphics. The important information for people using assistive technologies, like screen reader users, is to know what website they are on or who endorses the content of the web resource, and not what the icon looks like.

Benefit to People with Disabilities

  1. People using assistive technologies like screen readers more easily understand the purpose of the icon or branding image on a web page.

Benefits to All Users

  1. Cell phone, PDA devices and text only browsers can more quickly identify the purpose of an image before it is completely downloaded.

Benefits to Developers

  1. The alt attribute content reinforces the name of the website with search engines.

HTML Markup Details

alt attribute
alt attribute should reflect the name of the entity or concept associated with the image.

Related Accessibility Requirements

Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act Standards
4.1 - Provide appropriate "alternate text" for all images.
4.2 - Provide full descriptions for graphs, diagrams, and other meaningful images.
Section 508
1194.22 (a) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content).
W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
1.1.1 Non-text Content
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 1.0)
1.1 Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content). [Priority 1]