SVG images and graphics require accessible text

Rule ID: svg-img-alt
Ruleset: axe-core 4.1
User Impact: Serious
Guidelines: WCAG 2.1 (A), WCAG 2.0 (A), Section 508

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Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact


Disabilities Affected

  • Blind
  • Deafblind
  • Mobility


  • WCAG 2.1 (A)
  • WCAG 2.0 (A)
  • Section 508

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.1 (A)]

  • 1.1.1: MUST: Non-text Content

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.0 (A)]

  • 1.1.1: MUST: Non-text Content

Section 508 Guidelines

  • 1194.22: MUST: Web based intranet and Internet Information & Applications
  • 1194.22 (a): MUST: A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content)

How to Fix the Problem

Ensure that all SVG elements that are added as markup into the HTML, one or a combination of the below methods are used to provide an accessible name for the SVG.

Using the <title> attribute


    <svg role="img" title="A brown circle">

Using the SVG <title> element

The <title> element provides an accessible, short-text description of any SVG container element or graphics element.


    <svg role="img">
      <title>A descriptive title for the SVG element</title>
      <path d="...." />

Using the `aria-label` attribute


    <svg xmlns="">
    <circle role="img" cx="50" cy="50" r="40" stroke="black" fill="red"  aria-label="A red circle with black border">

Using the `aria-labelledby` attribute


    <div id="first">First</div>
    <div id="name">Name</div>
    <svg role="img"  aria-labelledby="first name">
      <path d="...." />

Why it Matters

The intent of Success Criterion 1.1.1 is to make information conveyed by non-text content (including SVG images) accessible through the use of a text alternative. Text alternatives are a primary way for making information accessible because they can be rendered through any sensory modality (for example, visual, auditory or tactile) to match the needs of the user. Providing text alternatives allows the information to be rendered in a variety of ways by a variety of user agents. For example, a person who cannot see a picture can have the text alternative read aloud using synthesized speech. A person who cannot hear an audio file can have the text alternative displayed so that he or she can read it. In the future, text alternatives will also allow information to be more easily translated into sign language or into a simpler form of the same language.

Rule Description

Ensures SVG elements with an <img>, graphics-document or graphics-symbol role have an accessible text alternative.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

The algorithm for this rule returns:

  • True if the element has a <title>code child

    <svg id="target"><title>Time II: Party</title></svg>
  • True if the <title> child has text nested in another element.

    <svg id="target"><title><g>Time II: Party</g></title></svg>
  • False if the element has no <title> child.

    <svg id="target"></svg>
  • False if the <title> child is empty.

    <svg id="target"><title></title></svg>
  • False if the <title> is a grandchild.

    <svg id="target"><circle><title>Time II: Party</title></circle></svg>
  • False if the <title> child has only whitespace.

    <svg id="target"><title> \t\r\n </title></svg>
  • False if there are multiple titles and the first is empty.

    <svg id="target"><title></title><title>Time II: Party</title></svg>


Refer to the complete list of axe 4.1 rules.

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