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Image Attribute Guidelines

Thermal image of human eye taken at USM with FLIR SC7900 VL camera
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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Thermal Image of Retina



Captions 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.

Captions are not always available (Gallery Images), but areas for description are present and can serve much the same purpose.

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 image of human eye taken at USM with FLIR SC7900 VL camera

Eye under microscope

The alt text attribute is sometimes only visible AFTER a file has been uploaded.

Usage Rights

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

Image Bank

Marketing has created a collection of already approved images ready to use which are pre-sized for Slideshow Images.

When in doubt, ask.

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