Image Alt Text: What Is It and How To Write It For WCAG Compliance

The WCAG states that all non-text content, such as videos or images, must have an alternative text which may include dialogue in a video or captioning for images. Make sure you’re doing your part in making your websites accessible to everyone, starting with adding alt tags to your images.

What is alt text?

Image alt text is a short sentence or phrase that describes the image in case it cannot be seen. They are used to help search engines index your website better, and they can also provide helpful information for people with visual impairments who might have difficulty reading images due to their disability. 

We use the alt attribute of images when creating websites, blogs, or even social media posts because it helps give context to a post visually and aids in improving SEO ranking. If there's no text on an image you're looking at, try pressing Control+Alt+I on a PC or Command+Option+I on a Mac to see if they offer any description for the photo.

The purpose of the alt text is to make sure that all content on your website meets WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards and is accessible by everyone - whether they are using a screen reader, have low vision or color blindness, can't see well, have a hearing impairment or some other disability. The best way to do this is to describe the item visually in an engaging fashion with plenty of detail so that someone who cannot see it would be able to understand what it represents on their device.

How To Write Alt Text

The most important thing to consider when writing alt text is that it should be short and straight to the point. There are usability issues you can run into on a website if your alt text is too long, so it's important not to get carried away with describing the image. You want your reader to have an idea of what they're looking at without going into excessive detail about everything in the picture. 

Examples of good alt texts are: "A girl walking a dog," "A man reading," or "Cat looking at you on a blue blanket." It may seem like stating the obvious, but these descriptions help readers understand what they're seeing without reading through a lengthy description of each scene.

The WCAG states that all non-text content, such as videos or images, must have an alternative text which may include dialogue in a video or captioning for images. Make sure you’re doing your part in making your websites accessible to everyone, starting with adding alt tags to your images. 

Want to see if your website is compliant with WCAG 2.0 standards?

Click here to get a free Accessibility Audit.


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