Allow image captions for sidecar images

09-07-2022 12:47 PM
Status: Open
Occasional Contributor III

We are using a sidecar to display a series of images. We'd like to add image captions, however can not determine how to do this. We could add a caption to the text of the sidecar, but this is not ideal. The "Attribution" text shows the 'info' icon, and this could also work but again is not ideal. Below is a description of what we are trying to accomplish:

My intention with this story map is to tell a friendly, nontechnical story about the importance of Pollinators and, as is, the narrative reads very simply and nicely, free of scientific lingo.  However, while the images show examples of the narrative (pollinators and pollinator gardens, etc), the narrative does not explain what appears in the images.  While reviewing the draft, I realized that captioning the photos with common and scientific names of the flora and fauna would greatly enhance the educational value, for those readers interested in knowing more about pollinators (and gardens), without disrupting the flow of the narrative for those who wish to casually just read a nice story about pollinators.  It seems, a small strip or corner of the image where I could float an explanatory bit of 'Latin' (names, etc, of less than 8-10 words in total) would be ideal for this purpose. 

See bolded area above for proposed idea to enhance the ability to add captions to images within a sidecar. 


I completely agree, this would be very helpful for a project I am working on as well. Even being able to resize text to be smaller in the narrative pane would help me for both captions and footnotes, though I agree with @erica_poisson , an area for captions around the image would be ideal. Thanks!


I agree that being able to add captions in the sidecar would be ideal. Another option would be to include "caption" text within the text options that could be used in the narrative pane.

I work for the federal government and our products must be 508-compliant to be accessible. We are currently using quote text in the narrative pane to add captions due to a lack of a better alternative. This means that users of assistive technology are notified that what is being read to them is quote text, which is incorrect. If there were a caption text option, that would solve our problem because it would label the text as caption for users of assistive technology.

Thank you,

Aimee Stephens


@AimeeStephens -- You can add alternative text to any piece of media in a story, so I would recommend that as the best way to provide an accessible experience for your readers.

See these resources for more information about making your stories accessible:



Thank you. I appreciate your response. We do add alt text to the different pieces.

For sighted people, a caption is necessary for the information we provide (dashboards, figures, etc.) in the sidecars. To make it visually distinguishable from other text we use quote text and place the caption in the narrative pane. It's not ideal but works. My concern is that the quote text is programmatically labeled as such, which could be confusing to users of assistive technology. The better option would be to have caption text that we could use.



@AimeeStephens -- Agree that it's not ideal to use a quote because of the programmatic implications.

I would recommend using regular paragraph text and color for to differentiate your homemade captions from the other text in the sidecar. If you are using your own theme, you can set one of the accent colors to be what you use for those captions so it is easy to access from the color picker.

The color picker has a contrast checker that will help you choose a color that meets accessibility guidelines for contrast.


I fully agree that there should be the option to add captions to any image added to a Storymap, including in sidecars.

The response here states that captions for sidecar images are "not necessary since there is ample space for text in the narrative panel to describe images". I find this response a bit weird, as when images are added to the narrative panel itself, the option to add a caption is there. Why are captions offered here, when as stated "there is ample space for text in the narrative panel to describe images"?

My context is that my narrative panel is text based and does not need to reference the images in the sidecar; the images are purely added for some visual interest. I would like to caption each image, but don't want to break up the text itself as the images are not directly referenced. I would like the ability to achieve this with a sidecar (scrolling text and static images) rather than adding the images to the text block itself (scrolling text and scrolling images).

Basically, it would be great to have consistency across images in Storymaps – no matter where or how they are added there should be the ability to add alternative text and a caption.