<object> elements must have alternate text

Rule ID: object-alt
Ruleset: axe-core 4.7
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


  • 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

Add alternative text to all embedded <object> elements using either aria-label, aria-labelledby, or title attributes.

The object-alt rule has six examples that pass analysis:

<object data="path/to/content" title="This object has text"></object>
<object data="path/to/content" aria-label="this object has text"></object>
<span id="label1">this object has text</span>
<object data="path/to/content" aria-labelledby="label1"></object>
<object data="path/to/content" role='presentation'></object>
<object data="path/to/content" role='none'></object>

The object-alt rule has three examples that fail analysis:

<object data="path/to/content"></object>
<object data="path/to/content"><div> </div></object>
<object data="path/to/content">This object has no alternative text.</object>

Why it Matters

Screen readers have no way of translating non-text content into text announced to users. Instead, they read out alternative text. For screen reader users to obtain the information contained in embedded object elements which must contain short, descriptive alternative text.

The object element defines an embedded object within a document. It is used to embed multimedia (audio, video, applets, etcetera.) or another web page into the document. The object element needs a text alternative so that users of screen readers know the contents of the object.

When writing a text alternative, keep in mind that the purpose of the alternative text is to relay information to blind users about the image’s contents and purpose - blind users should be able to get as much information from alternative text as a sighted user gets from the image. Alternative text should give the intent, purpose, and meaning of the image.

When writing alternative text, it’s helpful to keep the following questions in mind:

  • Why is the non-text content here?
  • What information is it presenting?
  • What purpose does it fulfill?
  • If I could not use the non-text content, what words would I use to convey the same information or function?

Be sure that all text contained in this attribute is useful. Words like “chart”, “image”, “diagram”, or image file names tend not to be very useful.

Rule Description

All embedded objects must have text alternatives to be read out to screen reader users.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

Ensures that every object element has a text alternative.


Other Resources

You may also want to check out these other resources.

Refer to the complete list of axe 4.7 rules.

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