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Image Attribute Guidelines

Effective web images have three attributes: Title, Caption and Alternate Text. Knowing what to use for each can be frustrating, however, so some basic guidelines follow, plus a note about Usage Rights.


Images should always be posted with a specific purpose in mind, rather than simply added for 'variety' or 'color'.


In our CMS, the title is sometimes visible (Gallery Images) and other times not (Slideshow Images). In either case, however, titles should be kept as brief as possible.

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Close-up of Human Eye



In our CMS, captions are not currently always available (Gallery Images). However, when present, they should not be literal descriptions of the image. Instead, they should connect the image to the page or site it resides on, by providing context to the site's goals, events or other desired information.

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Biology majors at USM have access to the latest research technology, like the FLIR SC7900 VL thermal imaging camera used to capture this image of the human eye.

Thermal camera image of human eye.

* See 'Usage Rights' below.

Alternate Text

The Alternate Text (or 'alt text') attribute is used by screen readers, search engines and when the image cannot be loaded. Alt text is intended to represent the image for non-visual situations, so it should be a literal (but brief) description of the image.

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Thermal camera image of human eye.*

Eye under microscope

* See 'Usage Rights' below.

Usage Rights

Always remember to use only images that you have permission to use.

When in doubt, contact Marketing or Legal.

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