Spacer image has descriptive alt Accessibility Checkpoint


Decorative and spacer images must not use descriptive alt attributes.


Images used for decoration only should have alt='' so they can be ignored by screen readers. Images with role=presentation or role=none should also have alt='' because screen reader behavior is very erratic when these have conflicting values.

Applicable standards

Note: Section 508 Refresh (2017) checkpoints are equivalent to WCAG 2.0 level A and level AA checkpoints.

Impact on users

  • JAWS Reads out redundant alt text.
  • NVDA Reads out redundant alt text.
  • VoiceOver Reads out redundant alt text.

Change history

  • 5.39 Nov 2020 Fixed false positive.
  • 5.37 May 2020 Improved detection.
  • 5.27 Oct 2017 Handle ARIA roles on image. Changed rule ID from AccWcag2-F39-1 to AccHtmlImgDecorativeAltNonNull.
  • 5.9 Jun 2015 Handle non-standard image element.
  • 5.5 May 2014 Updated to April 2014 version of Techniques for WCAG 2.0.
  • 5.3 Sep 2013 Updated to Sept 2013 version of Techniques for WCAG 2.0.
  • 5.0 Oct 2012 Don’t fire on IMG elements with no SRC attribute.
  • 3.5 Dec 2009 Fixed detection of single pixel spacer images.
  • 3.0 Dec 2008 Added.

This page describes a web site issue detected in HTML documents by SortSite Desktop and OnDemand Suite.

Rule ID: AccHtmlImgDecorativeAltNonNull