What rarity is the Shadowsong bow in AL play, after the Content Catalog v9? originally had images of an item's description and of an AL catalog ruling. As is a habit, I edited the post to replace images of these texts with their texts, thinking to improve accessibility.

I then noticed that the original version had summarized the texts in the images' alt-texts--OP clearly took some care to make this post work for those not viewing images.

Is there a reason to prefer either of those methods--providing good alt-text vs. inputting text directly--from an accessibility standpoint? From other perspectives?


3 Answers 3


Actual text should always be preferred

I think unless there's something in the visual form/presentation that is key to the issue (and that's gonna be fairly rarely, and even then also having a text quote might be good/needed), having it transcribed into a (normally formatted) text quote is preferable. While the difference to a screen reader may be minimal, and having text as an image doesn't allow the text to be scaled up or replaced by a higher legibility font.

And outside of accessibility, having normal text quotes looks better. Images lead to inconsistent type-face, size, and indent, and that's assuming the screen caps are high-res enough to not be noticeable. And there's the white box on off-white background thing you get with images.


Avoid images of text

The accessibility concerns with text in images (even with alt text) are:

  • You can't copy the text
  • It won't be responsive, so the text will be awkward to read on some screens
  • Anyone using custom styles can't apply them to the text (e.g. high contrast mode, more readable font, bigger font). Some of these styles are quality of life upgrades but others are necessary for some people to be able to read.
  • Many tools work only (or best) on text: popup dictionaries, Google Translate, searching (whether it's a search engine, SE search, or control + F), etc.

For those reasons, you should avoid using images of text, even if you have appropriate alt text. Even when including "artsy" images of text, it's probably best to keep the transcription outside the alt text. For example, you might use an alt text of "dragon spitting fire at the Raising Creatures rules" and then duplicate the text of the rule below that.


Unless the format is significant, don't use pictures

There might be cases where an error in the formating of the page is significant or assists in showing the problem or the formating itself is part of the question.

However, unless such a situation arises, the pure plain text should always be preferred!

One random example would be from the Magic the Gathering card game: Name Dropping has part of the text obscured by part of the picture.

Name Dropping card from MTG

However, even then, text can be used to show the readabilty problems after the picture easier and more readable. The text on the card reads:

Gotcha - [obscured: Whenever] an opponent [...] // avoid commit[me]nts and open flames

The errata'ed rules text reads:

Gotcha - if an opponent [...] // avoid commitments and open flames


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .