Visualize Images With Descriptive Alt Text

Daniel, a developer, took some time in 2017 to share everything that a newcomer needs to know about alt texts. Daniel has a vision impairment, so his endeavors into this subject are aimed at people who need sites to be ADA compliant. He points out that he uses a combination of magnification and a screen reader, depending on which device he is using in order to access the internet.

He needs to get a description of images read to him. He noted that a lot of the time, the alt text is not helpful. Sometimes it wastes his time if it does not have any context or meaning. For example, alt text that is just file names does not help him.

A good alt text is a description of an image for people who cannot see the image. The alt text could help a person with low or no vision and those who turned off images in order to cut down on data use. Alt text also helps search engines and SEO.

The screen reader can read the alt text to the user. In HTML, it is an attribute in the image element. Content management systems such as WordPress allow the web developer to create the alt text when the image is uploaded. Some interfaces give it different names.

Alt text should describe the image, not the data file. Some examples: "Mom holding baby." "People waiting in a grocery store line." "Fire truck in front of a house fire." Things that should not be in the alt text include the photographer's name and keywords for SEO.

The context of the alt text is also important. Some good alt text includes descriptors such as "grayscale" and "close-up." The context of the image is important to making sense out of what is on the site. Overall, the alt text should be concise. Skip the "image of" or "photo of." However, if the image is a painting or illustration, this can be stated in the alt text. End the alt text with a period so that the screen reader pauses after reading it. For more information click here