« Back to Glossary Index

Alt Text

Definition: Alt text, or alternative text, is a descriptive attribute added to an HTML image tag. It provides a textual description of the content of an image, allowing individuals who cannot view the image or use screen readers to understand its meaning and context. Alt text serves as a crucial accessibility feature, enhancing the inclusivity of web content for users with visual impairments or those who rely on assistive technologies.

Key Characteristics and Considerations:

  1. Accessibility Aid:
    • Alt text is primarily used to make images accessible to individuals with visual impairments who use screen readers or other assistive technologies.
  2. Descriptive Content:
    • Alt text should provide a concise and accurate description of the image\’s content, conveying its purpose or information. It is not meant to be decorative but informative.
  3. Conciseness and Clarity:
    • Alt text should be concise while still conveying essential information. Clear and straightforward language is crucial to ensure understanding.
  4. No Redundancy:
    • Avoid duplicating information present in the surrounding text. Alt text is meant to provide additional context, not repeat what is already written.
  5. Contextual Relevance:
    • Consider the context in which the image appears and tailor the alt text to provide relevant information within that context.
  6. Empty Alt Attribute:
    • If an image is purely decorative and adds no meaningful content, the alt attribute can be left empty (alt=\”\”) to indicate to screen readers that the image is not essential for understanding the content.

Examples of Alt Text:

  1. Descriptive Alt Text:
    • <img src=\"example.jpg\" alt=\"A person reading a book in a library\">
  2. Empty Alt Text for Decorative Images:
    • <img src=\"decorative.jpg\" alt=\"\">
  3. Complex Image Description:
    • <img src=\"infographic.png\" alt=\"A colorful infographic illustrating the steps of a scientific process\">

Utilizing Alt Text for SEO:

  1. Image SEO:
    • Alt text is used by search engines to understand the content of images. Providing descriptive alt text can contribute to better search engine optimization (SEO) for web pages.
  2. Keyword Relevance:
    • Include relevant keywords in alt text, but ensure that it remains natural and accurately describes the image.

Implementing Alt Text:

  1. HTML Image Tag:
    • <img src=\"image.jpg\" alt=\"Descriptive text here\">
  2. Content Management Systems (CMS):
    • Most CMS platforms, such as WordPress, include fields for adding alt text when uploading or editing images.
  3. Accessibility Tools:
    • Web developers and content creators can use accessibility tools or screen reader software to test and ensure that alt text is properly implemented.

Conclusion: Alt text is a fundamental element of web accessibility, ensuring that individuals with visual impairments can access and understand the content of images on websites. Beyond its accessibility benefits, alt text also plays a role in image SEO, contributing to the overall usability and inclusivity of online content.

« Back to Glossary Index
Scroll to Top