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Using aria-labelledby to provide a text alternative for non-text content

Revision as of 21:28, 13 March 2013 by Lguarino (Talk | contribs)

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User Agent notes

  • Jaws 14 supports this technique; also JAWS 13?
  • NVDA 2012.3 supports this technique


This technique applies to HTML with WAI-ARIA.

This technique relates to:


The purpose of this technique is to provide a short description for an element that can be read by Assistive Technologies (AT) by using the aria-labelledby attribute. The aria-labelledby attribute makes it possible to associate an element with a piece of text that is visible elsewhere on the page. The text of the element identified by aria-labelledby is used as the name of the element by assistive technology such as a screen reader.


Example 1

This example shows how to use the aria-labelledby attribute to provide a short text description for an image, using a piece of text that is visible on the page. Note: The alt attribute must also be included in conforming documents.

<img src="sunflowers.jpg" alt="Van Gogh's painting of sunflowers" aria-labelledby="label">
<span id="label">Van Gogh's oil painting of sunflowers</span> hangs in Amsterdam's Van Gogh museum.</p>

Example 2

This example shows how to use the aria-labelledby attribute to provide a short text description for a complex graphic of an organization chart; the graphic is composed of several image elements. The text alternative for the graphic is the label, visible on the page beneath the orgnization chart.

<div role="img" aria-labelledby="label">
<img src="part1.png" alt=""/>
<img src="part2.png" alt=""/>
<img src="part3.png" alt=""/>
<img src="part4.png" alt=""/>
<img src="part5.png" alt=""/>

<div id="label">Organizational chart</div>


WAI-ARIA 1.0 Authoring Practices



  1. Examine each element where the aria-labelledby attribute is present.
  2. Check whether the value of the aria-labelledby attribute is the id of an element on the web page
  3. Determine that the text of the element identified by the aria-labelledby attribute accurately labels the element, provides a description of its purpose, or provides equivalent information.

Expected results

  • Checks #2 and #3 are true.