1. Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content.

Slide 2 of 17
Previous page. Next page.

Provide content that, when presented to the user, conveys essentially the same function or purpose as auditory or visual content.

Although some people cannot use images, movies, sounds, applets, etc. directly, they may still use pages that include equivalent information to the visual or auditory content. The equivalent information must serve the same purpose as the visual or auditory content. Thus, a text equivalent for an image of an upward arrow that links to a table of contents could be "Go to table of contents". In some cases, an equivalent should also describe the appearance of visual content (e.g., for complex charts, billboards, or diagrams) or the sound of auditory content (e.g., for audio samples used in education).

This guideline emphasizes the importance of providing text equivalents of non-text content (images, pre-recorded audio, video). The power of text equivalents lies in their capacity to be rendered in ways that are accessible to people from various disability groups using a variety of technologies. Text can be readily output to speech synthesizers and braille displays, and can be presented visually (in a variety of sizes) on computer displays and paper. Synthesized speech is critical for individuals who are blind and for many people with the reading difficulties that often accompany cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, and deafness. Braille is essential for individuals who are both deaf and blind, as well as many individuals whose only sensory disability is blindness. Text displayed visually benefits users who are deaf as well as the majority of Web users.

Providing non-text equivalents (e.g., pictures, videos, and pre-recorded audio) of text is also beneficial to some users, especially nonreaders or people who have difficulty reading. In movies or visual presentations, visual action such as body language or other visual cues may not be accompanied by enough audio information to convey the same information. Unless verbal descriptions of this visual information are provided, people who cannot see (or look at) the visual content will not be able to perceive it.

Check Checkpoints for guideline 1.

Next slide: Guideline 2.

Introduction: Table-of-Contents Guidelines: Table-of-Contents Checkpoints: Table-of-Contents Examples: Table-of-Contents

Previous page. Next page.

Chuck Letourneau & Geoff Freed

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative

Copyright © 2000 W3C