Alt Text, What Is It? & How Do I Use It Properly?

With me being Visually Impaired, Alt Text is extremely important to me, and after seeing quite a lot of websites and people not using it correctly, I thought that I would give you a little crash course in exactly what it is and how to use it.

A black iPhone, a silver pen, and a notebook next to a laptop on a white rectangular table, on a white background.

A picture of an iPhone, a silver pen, a notebook, and a laptop on a white table.

What is Alt Text?

Alt Text is a piece of code that has been embedded into a Picture that describes the Picture to anyone who uses a Screen Reader. It can also increase the SEO, Search Engine Optimisation of a post which is why people, especially Content Creators, get confused about what it actually is.

Why is it important that I use Alt Text in my Pictures?

If you upload a Picture to a website or your Social Media account and don’t add Alt Text to your Pictures, people like me who are Visually Impaired have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. The best way I can explain it is with the following sentence. My Dog Riley has really fluffy fur and loves to lay in front of the Fire. Now imagine that I took every other word out so it read, My Riley really fur loves sit front Fire. It makes no sense and you are missing out on the point that i’m trying to make.

How do I add Alt Text to my Pictures.

There are many different ways in which you can add Alt Text to a Picture, but i’m going to focus on the five main ones, WordPress, Jamie, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as they’re generally the Platforms that everyone uses.

WordPress.

Once you’ve uploaded a Picture, go to your Media Library and click on the Picture that you want to add Alt Text to and the Picture Information Panel will appear. Then click on the Text Box marked Alt Text and write your description in it. Then hit save, and you’ve added Alt Text to your Picture.

Blogger.

Once you’ve uploaded a Picture, go to your Media Library and click on the Picture that you want to add Alt Text to. Then click on Properties in the Menu that appears and the Picture Properties Panel will appear. Then click on the box marked Alt Text and write your description in it. Then click ok, and you’ve added Alt Text to your Picture.

Facebook.

Once you’ve uploaded your Picture, click on the More Button underneath the Picture and click on Edit Alt Text in the menu that appears. Then click on override generated Alt Text and write your description in the Text Box that appears. Then click done and you’ve added Alt Text to your Picture. Unfortunately Facebook only allows you to use up to 100 characters so you’ll have to be pretty brief, but something is better than nothing.

Twitter.

To add Alt Text to a Picture on Twitter you first have to enable the feature by clicking on the Account Menu, it’s usually a little version of your Profile Picture in the top corner of the screen, and then clicking on Settings and Privacy in the menu that appears. Then click Accessibility in the menu that appears and click on Compose Image Descriptions in the next menu that appears. Now you’ve turned on the ability to add Alt Text to your Pictures on Twitter.

Now go back to your Timeline and click on Compose A New Tweet and add your Picture by clicking on the Media Library Button, then clicking on the Picture that you want to use and clicking Add. You will now be presented with a number of options including Delete Photo, Add Description To Photo, Update Stickers, Edit Photo, Who’s In This Photo? and Add Location. Click on Add Description To Photo and Write your description in the Text Box that appears. Then click apply, and you’ve added Alt Text to your Picture. You will then be redirected to your Tweet Composer where you can add another Photo or finish composing your Tweet.

Instagram.

Yes, even though Instagram is primarily a Picture based platform, you can add Alt Text to your Pictures.

Once you’ve chosen the Picture that you want to upload from your Camera Roll and have made any alterations to it like adding a Filter, click next and you will be presented with the Picture Information Panel where you can add a Caption, Tag anyone who’s in the Picture, add a Location and choose where else you would like to share your Picture to. Then click Advance Options at the bottom of the Panel and click on Write Alt Text in the menu that appears. Then write your description in the Text Box that appears and click done and you’ve added Alt Text to your Picture. You will then be redirected to the Advanced Options Menu where you can click on Back in the top left hand corner to be redirected to the Picture Information Panel.

You can also add Alt Text once you’ve uploaded a Picture by navigating to the Picture that you want to add Alt Text to and clicking on the more button in the top right hand corner. Then click on Edit in the Menu that appears and You will be presented with the Picture Information Panel again. Then click Write Alt Text at the top of the Panel and write your description in the Text Box that appears. Then click on done, and you’ve added Alt Text to your Picture. You’ll then be redirected to the Picture Information Panel where you can make any other changes that you want, or click done in the top right hand corner to save your changes.

me stood on some grey stone paving in front of a large rectangular window wearing a medium green jacket, a bright blue jumper, a pair of black trousers, and a pair of black Leather boots holding a long red cane, on a light background.

A picture of me holding my Red Cane.

How do I write the perfect description for my Pictures?

It’s really simple, all you have to do is be as descriptive as possible, so include things like shapes, colours, what any writing in the Picture says, facial features and what someone is doing. For example, the Alt Text in the picture above is, Me stood on some Grey Stone Paving in front of a large rectangular Window wearing a medium Green Jacket, a bright Blue Jumper, a pair of Black Trousers and a pair of Black Leather Boots holding a long Red Cane, on a light background.

I really hope that this has helped you understand what Alt Text is and how to use it properly, but Please remember that even though that you’ve added Alt Text to your Pictures, unless you’re using a Screen Reader you wont see it.

Do you use Alt Text in your Pictures? Did you find this helpful? If not, do you have any other questions about Alt Text? Please let me know down below.

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Luke x

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4 Comments:

  1. Thanks for this post Luke, I didn’t realise that the Alt Text was used for this, I just thought it was an SEO thing. I will use the Alt text on all my images now!

  2. Great post! I learned something today. Thank you for sharing this.

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