Picto thématique

Rule n° 111 - Each decorative image has an appropriate text alternative.

Do you know that it is possible to listen to a page? This is what all people equipped with screen reader software, which is often the case for visually impaired and blind. This software reads their web pages. If you specified a text alternative for each decorative image, it will be systematically read. But after the twentieth time that the screen reader will have uttered the words "bullet point", the user may be upset. This rule is simple: if an image is decorative, not write alternative.

#Accessibility #SEO #Images and media #Development #Editorial


  • Prevent users in environments where images are not seen (text browsers, screen readers or browsers with the images disabled) from being bothered by information about images that are unimportant to them.
  • Provide only pertinent information to web crawlers.
  • Improve the accessibility of content for people with disabilities.
  • Improve the way content is taken into account by search engines and indexing tools.


In general, if a code (an HTML attribute, for example) is intended as an alternative, it must exist but be empty. For the most common cases:
  • Give each decorative img element an empty alt attribute (alt="").
  • Give each decorative area element an empty alt attribute.
  • Leave empty the content of each object element in question (between the <object> and </object> tags).
  • Leave the content of each canvas element in question empty.
  • Do not give any svg element in question any ARIA attribute that gives it a label (aria-labelledby, aria-describedby, etc.).


This check is carried out in the HTML code generated using a code inspector or a dedicated toolbar:
  • Test first for the presence of alt attributes by checking the validity of the HTML code generated, for example with the W3C validator (the HTML validator shows the private alternative images): each decorative image must have an alt attribute (present but empty).
  • Check that each img image which does not convey information needed to understand the content has an empty alt.
  • Check any other object type graphic objects, the content of the canvas between the opening and closing tags must be empty.
  • Check any other elements of the svg type likely to receive an alternative via an ARIA attribute.

By Opquast - Read the license

Overview and background

The 240 Opquast rules are defined and agreed upon by an extensive community of web professionals and academics. These web quality assurance guidance rules started as a list of best practices 20 years ago. They have since been revised every five years and have been tried and tested via millions of web interactions by Opquast community’s customers, including the leading CMS communities which have developed plugins for WordPress, Drupal and Prestashop. The most recent version, v4, was established in 2020.

Each rule has individual technical sheets and the rules can be searched by project phase or various topics: e-commerce, data-privacy, internationalization, security, code, etc, or by themes: accessibility, SEO, mobile, privacy, and ecodesign. The complete checklist is available on a creative commons license BY-SA.

To learn more about the Opquast approach, read this article published at Smashing Magazine

Broad application and benefits

The rules should be applied to your projects from the design phase through to post-implementation , and they should be understood by all professionals with web and customer experience (CX) responsibilities: from strategy to operations, marketers to project managers, and editorial to technical staff. The benefits of using this ruleset are numerous, including improving customer satisfaction, web performance, and e-commerce, and expanding your client base, while also decreasing your errors and costs.

Multidisciplinary verticles - accessiiblity, SEO, e-commerce, ecodesign etc..- starting from the foundational Opquast base.

Discover Opquast training and certification

The objective of these rules and the Opquast community mission is ‘making the web better’ for your customers and for everyone! Opquast rules cover the key major areas of risk that can negatively affect website users such as privacy, ecodesign, accessibility and security.

Opquast training has already allowed over 17,000 web professionals to have their skills certified. Train your teams, contact us

We offer a 1 hour free discovery module.