How To Write Good Alt Text

 

Did you know that there are 36 million blind users online? This is one of the many reasons why Alternative text (alt text) is a critical component of your website optimization strategy. Alternative text is, in its basic form, any text that describes the appearance and functionality of visuals like photos, graphics or graphs. In practice, it is SO much more than just a tool to describe visual elements on the web. Website optimization and accessibility, SEO and general user experience are just a few of the advantages employing good alt text will bring.

 

In this article, we’ll show you how to write alt text, what pitfalls to avoid, and why it’s so critical.  

Ok honey, ready for your crash course in all things alt.? 

Why Alt Text Is Important

Accessibility

A website’s alt text serves to explain what an image on the site depicts and what its purpose is if the viewer of the site is unable to see it. And keeping  the aforementioned number of blind users online in mind, this is a crucial aid for providing key information via screen reader software!

Improved User Experience

Whenever an image cannot be shown on a website due to loading issues or lack of internet connection, the alt text will appear in the spot where the picture would be. As a result, the alt text you choose has a significant influence on creating an enjoyable user experience for everyone, even when there are significant obstacles.

SEO

When you describe a picture using important keywords while making your page more accessible, this is viewed favorably by search engines. 

By simply explaining what’s in an image, you’re improving search results, thus making your website more valuable and therefore visible to people searching online according to Google. This makes it a win-win for readers and your website. 

What Is The Best Way To Write Effective Alt Text?

Now that you understand the importance of alt text, let’s talk about how to write it for both humans AND search engine algorithms. 

1. Describe What You See in the Picture

What is depicted in your image? Consider the purpose of the image and what information the user needs to gain from it before deciding what is most important. 

When it comes to determining whether or not a user requires precise information about an image’s content, such as the color of shoes in an online shop, this might be a factor.

2. Be Succinct at All Times

Express yourself succinctly and concisely. Using a screen reader, long explanations with a lot of filler words might be off-putting. 

It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that some screen reader users may just be interested in a quick glance at a picture. If the text is too long, it will be more challenging to read the page overall.

3. Use Proper Punctuation

Your alt text should conclude with a period, just like any other sentence. This signals to screen reader users that the description has been completed because of the pause that the reader has provided due to the punctuation. 

If the visual is an illustration, chart, graph, or anything else that isn’t a picture, it’s a good idea to include more information. 

Since screen readers already convey that the information being read describes an image, it is not necessary to state “picture of” or “image of.” 

The Use of Alternative Text

By now, it should be evident that alt text is an essential part of making your content accessible and more friendly to search engine algorithms for SEO. 

While writing these descriptions out may seem intimidating, keep it simple. Consider what readers need to know while keeping things clear and concise, and write it almost as a continuation of your content with proper punctuation. 

 

Check out our Guide to Brand Accessibility