Text Summaries

Learn why the text summaries enhance accessibility by providing alternative descriptions for visual content, benefiting diverse user needs.

Depending on the situation, alt text can’t always be the answer to all of our visual content accessibility challenges. This happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, such as in the case of a chart or data visualization, the image we’re describing will be an SVG or canvas element, so the alt attribute (which is only found as part of img tags) simply isn’t available to us. Other times, we might need to describe a series of images that are all working together to portray a single idea. Or, perhaps we’re trying to capture the greater context of a table of data or some kind of interactive widget. In all of these cases, what we’re looking for is an alternative to alt text that still allows us to summarize and capture inaccessible content for our users who aren’t able to fully perceive it in its native state. The answer to our problems is the text summary!

Alt text vs. text summaries

Text summaries allow us to solve some of the same problems as alt text, in addition to a few new ones. The differences between these two approaches can help us determine which option is the best solution for the specific problem we’re solving, so let’s take a look:

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