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How to use decorative images to reduce screen reader clutter

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

Fully updated for Xcode 11 GM

SwiftUI automatically uses the names of your images for screen reader labels, which is helpful if you have image names like “Photo of Paul Hudson” or “Hacking with Swift logo.” However, some images aren’t meant to be read because they are merely decorative – they don’t convey information that isn’t already elsewhere on the screen, or are instead just there to make the user interface look more attractive.

If you create these images using something like Image("BulletPoint") the screen reader will read them out as part of its standard UI pass. A better idea is to create them using using the Image(decorative:) initializer, which tells SwiftUI the image shouldn’t be exposed to the screen reader:

Image(decorative: "BulletPoint")

Once you’ve built your user interface it’s worth doing a final check over using VoiceOver to make sure you have marked your images correctly – the last thing you want is the screen reader speaking out weird internal filenames that you thought were only used in your code!

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