While support for alternative text for images has been improving across a wide variety of social platforms, there are still some gaps, and decorative images tend to be one of them.
If a platform provides options for adding alternative text but not a clear method for indicating the image is decorative, usually the best option is to write a very brief description. This will help ensure you don't end up with incorrect or meaningless text alternatives, such as "Image."
Depending on the situation, the following options may be helpful:
- Is the image conveying a particular tone or emotion? If so, include or describe it in the alternative text.
- Is the image decorative because the information is repeated in the text post? Use the alternative text to briefly describe the information’s purpose and location, such as “Event announcement, described in the caption.”
- If there is no information to convey, a handful of words about the visual component will still help indicate to users who rely on image descriptions that they haven't missed anything.
As social media accessibility tools continue to grow, we hope to see better support for properly coded decorative images. Checking for images of text is part of our comprehensive web accessibility audits; reach out to learn more!