Guide to Guideline 1.1 Level 1 Success Criterion 1

1.1 L1 SC1

Key terms and important concepts

non-text content

Content that is not represented by a Unicode character or sequence of Unicode characters.

  1. functional non-text content - content that is capable of performing one or more actions in response to user input and is not text.

    NOTE: This includes___.

    Editorial Note: We need to decide which term to use here to refer to programs that run in the context of user agents.(ex. applet, embedded programmatic object, functional component)

  2. non-text content used to convey information - content that communicates ideas, data, facts [@@include info from definition of information] and is not text.

  3. non-text content that is intended to create a specific sensory experience - arrangements of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that cause a reaction in the viewer or listener.

text alternative

Programmatically determined text that is used in place of non-text content or text that is used in addition to non-text content and referred to from the programmatically determined text.


For the purposes of these guidelines, multimedia refers to combined audio and video presentations. It also includes audio-only and video-only presentations that include interaction.

Intent of this success criterion

NOTE: Placeholder for description of intent

Technology-Independent techniques for Guideline 1.1 L1 SC1

Text alternatives for non-text content that conveys information


If the non-text content conveys information, then the text alternative must convey the same information. Ask, "What information does the non-text content convey?" and provide that information in text.

Determining what information the non-text content conveys may also require you to:

  • consider the context in which the non-text element occurs;

  • consider the non-text content both from

    • the content provider’s point of view and

    • from the user’s point of view.

What does the content provider want people to learn from the non-text content? What does the user need to learn from the text alternative? Is it important for users to draw their own conclusions based on the content as well as understanding the specific point the content-provider wanted to make?

Providing the information in text may require more than one step. For example, a complex image such as a chart, map, diagram, or photograph of an important person, place, event, or object may need two text alternatives:

  1. to identify the non-text item and

  2. to describe it or provide the information it conveys.

Technology-Specific Techniques for Guideline 1.1 L1 SC1

HTML Techniques:

CSS Techniques:

Benefits: How Guideline 1.1 L1 SC1 helps people with disabilities

NOTE: Placeholder for Benefits section

Examples of Guideline 1.1 L1 SC1

In the examples below, a single piece of non-text content is used in different contexts that require different text alternatives.

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