Images can be used to brighten up teaching materials and break up large volumes of text. An image can be a powerful way of making a point, and can be an effective way for students to learn, particularly those who are visual learners. It is of course, worth taking time to consider whether the image is key to the learning material and not simply used to improve the appearance. If an image is necessary and relevant to the information being presented, there are a couple of things which should be considered in relation to accessibility.

Use a high quality image 

The quality of the image is vitally important and should be considered before use. Small images, which have been stretched, can become unclear and pixelated, diluting their value. This is particularly important for students who may be using magnification software to access their material (click here to see section on magnification software).

How to add an image into a Word document

The best way to insert an image into a word document is to use the “insert picture” option. This can be done by selecting the “insert” tab on the main ribbon and then selecting “picture”. Using this wizard is the most effective way to add an image into your document.

Provide alternative text for images

For students using screen reading software, alternative text should be added to images. This alternative text will then be read aloud by the software, which can provide a meaningful description of the image. Without this alternative text, students using this software will miss out on this information.

How to add alternative text 

Alternative text can be added to an image (which has already been inserted into your document) by right clicking on it and selecting “format picture”. From the list of options provided, choose the “Alt-Text” option. This will bring up a dialogue box allowing the chance to enter a title for the image and also alternative descriptions, which screen reading software will read aloud to the student.

Add a caption to images used

This will provide the user with a brief description of the image, either above or below. This can add clarity as to why the image is there.

How to add a caption

To add a caption to an image inserted into a Word document, right click on the image and select “insert caption”. From the dialogue box which will appear on screen you can insert a new caption and decide whether it appears above or below the image.