This is an archived snapshot of W3C's public bugzilla bug tracker, decommissioned in April 2019. Please see the home page for more details.

Bug 23059 - Alt text section should address a headshot of a person with their name written
Summary: Alt text section should address a headshot of a person with their name written
Alias: None
Product: HTML WG
Classification: Unclassified
Component: HTML5 spec (show other bugs)
Version: unspecified
Hardware: PC Windows NT
: P2 normal
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: steve faulkner
QA Contact: HTML WG Bugzilla archive list
Keywords: a11y, CR
Depends on:
Reported: 2013-08-26 00:39 UTC by dmacdona
Modified: 2014-03-26 21:53 UTC (History)
7 users (show)

See Also:


Description dmacdona 2013-08-26 00:39:54 UTC
There have been a number of discussions about situation where you have a head shot of a person with their name written beside it, or in a section that says something like "Biography of John Doe" and there is a headshot...


Some accessibility people say use null alt=""   other say alt="headshot of John Doe" Others say alt="John Doe" or "photo of John Doe"...

We should address this specific common use case of an image.
Comment 1 dmacdona 2013-08-26 12:50:00 UTC
My personal opinion is that it should be
alt="Photo of John Doe" or alt="head shot of John Doe"

My reasons are:
1) I've spoken with several from the blind community about this, and there has been an aversion to the idea that they not be informed that there is a photo there. They want it to be discoverable.They don't want people to decide for them which content they should and shouldn't be able to discover.

2) it is not pure decoration, and therefore does not qualify under the alt"" exemption in WCAG 1.1.1

I know that there are some in the accessibility field that think it is redundant and chatty, so I think we should perhaps explore this and make  recommendation.
Comment 2 dmacdona 2014-02-16 14:00:13 UTC
There is a comment in bug  22373 by Mallory that addresses this bug.

Here is a copy of that comment for easier access.

"Regarding the alternative text mentioning what type of image it is.. there's some limited data from the WebAIM survey under "Identification of photos". It states a general preference of survey takers to know that the photo image is specifically a photo."
Comment 3 Mallory 2014-03-14 13:17:16 UTC
Another possibility authors may want to use to reduce verbosity...?

<img src="headshot.jpg" alt="Profile photo: " aria-describedby="jdoe">
<htmltag id="jdoe">John Doe</htmltag>

Though I'm unsure about implementation when users call up by type (all images on page) or unfocusables. Reminds me of the "how to programmatically link figcaptions to figures?" discussion, except here it must be author responsibility, not vendor.
Comment 4 steve faulkner 2014-03-14 15:51:54 UTC
EDITOR'S RESPONSE: This is an Editor's Response to your comment. If you are
satisfied with this response, please change the state of this bug to CLOSED. If
you have additional information and would like the Editor to reconsider, please
reopen this bug. If you would like to escalate the issue to the full HTML
Working Group, please add the TrackerRequest keyword to this bug, and suggest
title and text for the Tracker Issue; or you may create a Tracker Issue
yourself, if you are able to do so. For more details, see this document:

Status: Accepted
Change Description: refer to commit
Rationale: agree with commenter. This type of image i believe falls under Images that enhance the themes or subject matter of the page content and have added an example there
Comment 5 dmacdona 2014-03-26 21:50:56 UTC
Yes this is fine Steve

Just take the extra space (typo)out after the closing bracket
Comment 6 dmacdona 2014-03-26 21:53:50 UTC
oops... there is no extra space, just a visual characteristic of courier font