Failure of Success Criterion 1.1.1 and 1.2.1 due to using text alternatives that are not alternatives (e.g., filenames or placeholder text)

Important Information about Techniques

See Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria for important information about the usage of these informative techniques and how they relate to the normative WCAG 2.2 success criteria. The Applicability section explains the scope of the technique, and the presence of techniques for a specific technology does not imply that the technology can be used in all situations to create content that meets WCAG 2.2.


Applies to all technologies.

This technique relates to:


This describes a failure condition for all techniques involving text alternatives. If the text in the "text alternative" cannot be used in place of the non-text content without losing information or function then it fails because it is not, in fact, an alternative to the non-text content.


Example 1

Examples of text that are not text alternatives include:

  • placeholder text such as " " or "spacer" or "image" or "picture" etc that are put into the 'text alternative' location on images or pictures.
  • programming references that do not convey the information or function of the non-text content such as "picture 1", "picture 2" or "0001", "0002" or "Intro#1", "Intro#2".
  • filenames that are not valid text alternatives in their own right such as "Oct.jpg" or "Chart.jpg" or "sales\\oct\\top3.jpg"



  1. Check each text alternative to see if it is not actually a text alternative for the non-text content.

Expected Results

  • If step #1 is true then this failure condition applies and content fails the Success Criterion.