Active area elements must have alternate text

Log in (Premium content) Request a demo

Rule Description

An image map is a single image with many clickable areas. Like all images, an image map must have alternate text for each of the different clickable areas, as well as for the larger image itself, since screen readers have no way of translating graphics into text.

The Algorithm, in Simple Terms

Checks the <area> elements of image maps to ensure that they have an alternative text.

Why this is Important

Screen readers have no way of translating graphics into words. It is therefore important that all images, including image maps, have alt text.

How to Fix the Problem

Ensure that each clickable <area> within an image map has an alt, aria-label or aria-labelledby attribute that describes the purpose of the link.

Compliance Data & User Impact

User Impact: Critical
Disabilities Affected:
  • Blindness
  • Deafblindness
  • Mobility/Dexterity
Issue Type:
  • WCAG 2.0 (A): MUST
  • Section 508: MUST
  • WCAG 2.1 (A): MUST
WCAG Success Criteria:
  • 1.1.1 Non-text Content
Section 508 Guidelines:
  • 1194.22 (a) Text equivalent for non-text elements

Related Deque University Course Pages

Other Related Resources

Additional Information

Relevant Technologies:
  • HTML 4
  • HTML5
  • ARIA
Test Reliability: Automated testing is possible, with high accuracy
Rule ID: area-alt