Read on to learn more about how to create alt text and image descriptions. Images with complex information: If the image is a chart, diagram, or illustration, consider how to convey the information contained in the image using both the alt-text and the adjacent page text. For people who use screen readers, a good text equivalent of the information that’s presented graphically is essential for their understanding. It might sound obvious, but an alt-text should describe the image. Put simply, alt text (also referred to as alternative text or alt tags) are used to describe the images on your web page. In a WYSIWYG editor, it is possible to upload an image of some text (let's say, "delicious pancakes") and insert it into the page with alternative text that matches the text exactly: One disadvantage here is that screen readers will, in some contexts, read the alternative text with "graphic" appended, and you might not want the user to know that the text is really an image. But while accessibility for images often focuses on providing a text alternative for screen-reader users, we can also look at the issue from the other way around—providing a graphic alternative for text to make the underlying information or concept easier to understand. This includes for people with reading difficulties. People differ in the way that they can (or like to) consume information, especially in educational contexts. Alt text and captions are similar in many ways. Decorative images that have nothing to do with the website content, such as shapes or patterns, do not need alt text or image descriptions, and neither do blank images. Let’s create the perfect alt-text! If an image fails to load, alt text will display in its place. Alt text can and should be used in a variety of settings. If the image is a light blue button with rounded edges and dark red text with the word "Submit," the alt text should be simply: alt="submit" Don't worry about describing the non-essential visual aspects of the button's appearance. If an image has text in it, make sure to write out the image text verbatim as alt text. The alt text for the image should still describe the general content of the image. So wherever possible, use text along with CSS to apply styling (such as color, typeface, or size). The field is usually named “Alt-text”, “Alternative text” or “Alt”, but in some interfaces it’s called “Image description” or something similar. You can experiment with CSS text styling in this code editor, using the above rules as a starting point. Screen readers will read the alt text out loud, as well as image descriptions, depending on what settings the user has enabled. In rare occasions, an image of text might be used inline as a substitute for text. Skip to section navigation. In this example, we're going to provide a text alternative for a graph, using HTML to give an alt attribute to the graph and some visible text to provide additional information. Only in extreme circumstances, such as when a logo is used, should you provide an image of text rather than text. There are three main reasons why you should be using alt text. Always provide alt text for images that are links. Alt text tells people what is in an image, such as text or basic essential details. Alt text gives the user the most important information while image descriptions provide further detail. If the image requires a lengthier description, it is better to describe the image in the content and provide a short alt text. After placing the logo inside a link pointing to the home page, appropriate alternative text might be "Harvard University home page" or similar. Alt text is also useful for images with decorative text that may be difficult to see, like a signature or logo. Twitter users can add alt text by enabling these settings here. It’s purely descriptive. If the content that the image conveys is presented within text in the surrounding context of the image, then an empty alt attribute may suffice. However, any time an image is the only content within a link, the image MUST be given alternative text that presents the function of that link. You also need to think about the information that the graphic conveys, such as the categories of data being shown, trends, and maximum and minimum values. The most appropriate alternative text for an image depends very much on the context of the image in question. on CodePen. Do also be sure also to keep ALT text as short and succinct as possible. This text helps screen-reading tools describe images to visually impaired readers and allows search engines to better crawl and rank your website. The first step when determining appropriate alternative text for an image is to decide if the image presents content and if the image has a function. Consult the content editor slides at the top of the page for more examples.Some other best practices include: 1. Alternative text for informative images needs to provide the same information as the image. Some people understand complex information best when it's presented visually, such as as a chart or diagram, while others find that reading the information suits them better. Behind the scenes, the text will be styled using web fonts and CSS properties such as background, text-shadow and color. It is strongly recommended that alt text be 125 characters or less to ensure compatibility for popular screen readers. Alternative (Alt) Text is meant to convey the “why” of the image as it relates to the content of a document or webpage. If the image is a photograph, the alternate text should describe the photograph. In keeping with other Internet guidelines, the term " alt text" (in a code font) is used here to refer to the text supplied for the image alt parameter and which generates text for the HTML alt attribute; the term "alternative text" refers to the text equivalent for an image, regardless of where that text resides. The developer’s responsibility is to make sure the alt text is implement… If the image contains meaningful text, the alternate text should contain that text. And of course, alt text should be added when creating content Microsoft Office- read more about adding alt text in Microsoft Word here, adding alt text in PowerPoint presentations here, and creating screen reader-friendly presentations in Microsoft Sway here. Alt text, or “alternative text” as the long-form name suggests, is a With these tips, users can create alt text and image descriptions that help people with vision impairments and make their content more inclusive and accessible. Icons: alt text for icons should be the equivalent to the information intended by the icon, such as “Download PDF” or “Visit our Facebook Page”, Images as Links: If the image is being used to link to another page, the alt text should describe what will happen when the image is clicked (rather than what it looks like). In this case, we would use alternative text that describes the action of the link. So if you have 4 images of the same camera strap on the page, the alt text could be: Copyright © 2021 The President and Fellows of Harvard College, Accessibility: Image Alt text best practices (Siteimprove), Understanding SC 1.1.1—Non-text Content (WAI), Example of an accessible infographic (WebAIM), Guidelines for writing alt text on social media, experiment with CSS text styling in this code editor, ✎ Technique: Using diagrams to illustrate text, Use images and media to enhance understanding ✎, Use images and media to enhance understanding, Provide captions and descriptions of video, Digital Accessibility for Content Creators. Both should be written with the user in mind but alt text is the main source of information about what’s in the image. Alt tags should accurately describe an image so Google can determine what the image on your website is depicting. The accessibility of the web in general would increase dramatically if alternate attribute were provided and implemented correctly. What is alt text? For example, images that are fancy rendered text typically ("New!" The alternative text for the graph (supplied through its alt attribute, which you can add when you upload a graphic using a web editor) would be too long if it were to describe everything in the graph, so it just describes the graph's purpose. Listening to a web page with a screen reader takes a lot longer than traditional methods, so don’t make the surfing experience painful for screen reader users with bloated and unnecessary ALT text. Definition and Usage The required alt attribute specifies an alternate text for an image, if the image cannot be displayed. There does not need to be a high level of detail in the description. For example, the alt text for an image of a question mark that links to a help page should be “Contact Support” rather than “question mark.” Images with complex information: If the image is a chart… This includes screen readers If you didn’t create the image but you are the first to include it in a wireframe or mockup or prototype, you should write the alt text. Alt text and image descriptions can provide essential information such as text, links, and image details. ALT text is accessed by screen reader users to provide them with a text equivalent of images. The same image might need different alternative text depending on how it's used. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but there’s no reason to write them all out and leave the user waiting for the descriptions to end. There’s all sorts of … It also displays on the page if the image fails to load, as in this example of a missing image. But for complex graphics, it's not enough to provide a screen reader user with only short alternative text, such as "population graph." According to the most recent statistics available to us, we see that hydro-electric power is the most prevalent source at slightly over one third (36%), followed closely by coal (33%), then nuclear (19%), and gas at 10%. Alt text should clearly describe the beginning point, progress, and conclusion of flow charts. The simple answer is: if you created the image, you should write the alt text. A screen reader would identify that the image is also a link and say, "Harvard University homepage, link.". It never hurts to double check alt text and make sure that both the computer and humans are in agreement as to what is in the picture. According to W3C Accessibility Guidelines, for code to be considered W3C-valid, it is important to include both image alt text and image title text in the image for important images … In visual browsers such as Firefox, the ALT text is displayed whe… For example an image with a caption below it does not need alt text that matches the caption, leave the alt text blank to avoid redundancy. Let's look at some examples of appropriate alternative text, using the same Harvard University logo in different contexts. When composing image descriptions, it may seem difficult to decide what to include. All of the guidelines of WCAG and some related articles suggest to always set the alt attribute on the img elements, if the image links to other page, alt should be the place the image leads to. Best alt text: alt="A stack of pancakes on a plate with banana, walnuts and honey"> Alt text, since it’s what appears if the image doesn’t display, should be as descriptive as possible. Write the text as text in the editor and let the publishing system apply styling. In this case, we should focus on writing alternative text that stands in for the visible text within the logo, without adding any extraneous information—that is, you’d want the alternative text to just say "Harvard University". ALT tags are often misused, mostly people overuse them. But why not setting the aria-label on the a element, then we can still have the image description on the img 's alt ? Here’s an example of an image we used in a recent Yola blog post: This is the alt text we used for this image: As you can see the alt text describes what this image is. User agents should do their best to scale an object or image to match. Icons: alt text for icons should be the equivalent to the information intended by the icon, such as “Download PDF” or “Visit our Facebook Page” Images as Links: If the image is being used to link to another page, the alt text should describe what will happen when the image is clicked (rather than what it looks like). Alt text, short for alternative text, is a small piece of text intended to describe an image, photograph, chart or any other picture on a website. Describe the function of the image, especially if the image is a link. Image titles and alt texts are both attributes in an image tag that describe the content of that image. Search engines also index alt text information and consider it a factor when determining search engine ratings. The same image can have quite different alt text depending on its context. Decorative images should be given empty or null alt text. If you don’t, the screen reader reads the title of the image. If you do this, you'll need to provide that same text as the image’s text alternative so that screen-reader users can access the text. Image descriptions can be longer, but I recommend keeping them the length of a tweet, or about 280 characters. And by placing this paragraph first, we make sure screen reader users can still get the information they need. In fact, it's clear that coverage was overall pro-war with American news sources being slightly more pro-war than sources from outside the US. When the content presented in an image is conveyed elsewhere, such as in a caption, the image may also be given empty alt text. Here are features that can be included in image descriptions- write about these when applicable: Likewise, there are some things that should be left out of image descriptions. However, alt text is typically “behind the scenes,” whereas captions are visible to anyone accessing the page. 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