Understanding SC 1.4.5 Image of text
If the technologies being used can achieve the visual presentation, text is used to convey information rather than images of text except for the following: (Level AA)
- Customizable: The image of text can be visually customized to the user’s requirements;
- Essential: A particular presentation of text is essential to the information being conveyed.
Note: Logotypes (text that is part of a logo or brand name) are considered essential.
This success criterion encourages authors to use text representations wherever possible where they have employed technologies to achieve a visual representation of the same text. For example, a blog post in an organization’s site quotes the CEO from his/her recent address. In order to highlight the quotation, the quotation has been designed with a font that is otherwise unavailable and so the quotation is a JPG or a Bitmap image designed using an external application.
What’s wrong in that?
Well, the following problems would arise for the following user groups:
- People with low vision who may have reading problems because of the font family, size, color and so on. They can’t change the font, resize the text or customize the image of text
- People with visual tracking problems who can’t read the image of text because of spacing and alignment and they can’t customize these things
- People with cognitive disabilities that affect reading.
Must we avoid image of text altogether?
No, WCAG discourages but not dismisses the idea of image of texts. There are some exceptions to consider here: