Exceptions and Special Cases

Ornamental and Decorative Images

Ornamental or decorative images do not require description. They should be encoded with a blank or “null” alt text to be ignored by assistive technology.

Cover Images

Cover images are distinct because they do not appear inline in the body of the publication text.

If the cover image is significant, it is best to include description of the cover image in two places: as the alt text or long description of the cover image itself, and within the front matter of the book, in a section labeled “About the cover,” or similar. This redundant placement provides access to readers using any reading technology (including print) and additional access to readers using assistive technology in particular.

If the cover image is significant and already described elsewhere in the book (for example, in an epilogue or within a chapter), this description can be reused as the alt text or long description of the cover image itself. An “About the cover” section may be included, consisting of a short description and redirection to further description within the book, (e.g. “For further discussion, see Chapter 5”).

If the cover image is not significant in the context of the book, no description is necessary.  Alt text may be “cover, [TITLE].”

Images Described Elsewhere in the Text

If an image is displayed in one book section and described in another, alt text or long description associated with the image should provide key information and either reproduce the more complete description or redirect the reader to it within the text.

Guidelines Contents

  1. Glossary
  2. Basic Principles
  3. Examples
  4. Exceptions and Special Cases