Article: Designing for accessibility is not that hard

I ran into this article on Twitter:

I doubt it offers much new to @Jon_Fila and other advanced students of accessibility, but it has already taught me (an accessibility n00b) something new:

adding an empty <alt> attribute will make screen readers skip it. If you don’t write any alt text, some screen readers will read the file name to the individual

Emphasis mine. That seems like a counterproductive feature in a screen reader, no? Anyway, adding an empty <alt> tag seems like a pretty easy thing to do for unimportant images.

I was under the impression that it had to have:
in the code to make it a null tag.

I’ll have to test it out. Luckily, most content managers (Moodle, WordPress) now prompt users to include a description or mark it as necessary and it puts the tag in for you. Unfortunately, Google Docs does not. You have to go through extra steps to add your descriptive text. Google Docs is terrible for accessibility anyway.

The W3C seems to agree with you! Of course, what browsers and screen readers actually do may be a different thing entirely…

If no title attribute is used, and the alt text is set to null (i.e. alt="" ) it indicates to assistive technology that the image can be safely ignored.

The first clause is also new to me.