Adding alt text to images in the Surpass media library

All of your subject’s media (images, videos, audio files, and source material) are stored in a subject-specific repository called the media library.

Alt text provides a text alternative to images for screen readers, supporting candidates with accessibility requirements. You can add alt text to all images imported to the media library.

This article explains how to add alt text to images in the Surpass media library, including details on the differences between informative, functional, and decorative images.

1. Open the media library

In your subject, select Media Library to open the subject’s media library.

TIP: You can also open the media library from an item’s Edit screen. To open the media library from an item, use Select Media. For more information, read Creating items.

2. Select your image

Select the image you want to add alt text to. For more information on how to import media to the media library, read Importing files to the media library.

TIP: If your image is for decorative purposes, it does not require alt text. For more information, read ‘Adding alt text to informative, functional, and decorative images’ later in this article.

3. Add alt text

With your image file selected, type in the Alt Text text field. There is a maximum limit of 500 characters.

TIP: For more examples of the correct use of alt text, please read ‘Images Concepts‘ in Web Accessibility Tutorials.

Adding alt text to informative, functional, and decorative images

There are three types of image: informative, functional, and decorative. Before alt text can be added to an image, ensure that you are providing the appropriate alt text for the type of image. If your image contains information then it requires descriptive alt text. Refer to the relevant section for more information on each type.

NOTE: It is your responsibility to create accessible content and ensure that all alt text added to media is appropriate.

Informative images

Informative images are essential to the question and support question content. The alt text for an informative image should be descriptive and concise, supporting candidates with visual impairments, low vision, and those requiring screen readers. 

A good example of alt text being used to describe what is in the image.
A bad example of alt text being left as the file name of the image.

EXAMPLE: In this example, the alt text is eight multi coloured socks which describes the image. This is more clear and concise than womens-pink-colourful-ankle-sock.

Functional images

Functional images are used to represent interactive elements like buttons and links. The alt text for a functional image should describe the purpose of the element.

A good example of alt text being used to describe the purpose of the element.
A bad example of alt text being used to describe the icon and not the purpose of the element.

EXAMPLE: In this example, the alt text is Print which describes the purpose of the element. This is easier to understand than printer icon which only describes the icon.

Decorative images

IMPORTANT: Decorative images do not require alt text.

Decorative images are used as visual decoration and serve no specific purpose in relation to question content.

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