Understanding Guideline 1.1: Text Alternatives

Guideline 1.1 Text Alternatives: Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.


The purpose of this guideline is to ensure that all non-text content is also available in text. "Text" refers to electronic text, not an image of text. Electronic text has the unique advantage that it is presentation neutral. That is, it can be rendered visually, auditorily, tactilely, or by any combination. As a result, information rendered in electronic text can be presented in whatever form best meets the needs of the user. It can also be easily enlarged, spoken aloud so that it is easier for people with reading disabilities to understand, or rendered in whatever tactile form best meets the needs of a user.

While changing the content into symbols includes changing it into graphic symbols for people with developmental disorders and speech comprehension difficulties, it is not limited to this use of symbols.

Advisory Techniques

Specific techniques for meeting each Success Criterion for this guideline are listed in the understanding sections for each Success Criterion (listed below). If there are techniques, however, for addressing this guideline that do not fall under any of the success criteria, they are listed here. These techniques are not required or sufficient for meeting any success criteria, but can make certain types of Web content more accessible to more people.

Success Criteria for this Guideline

Key Terms


sequence of characters that can be programmatically determined, where the sequence is expressing something in human language