Why Alt Text Should Be Important To You

Why Alt Text Should Be Important To You

What are alt texts? Alternate text (alt text) is a piece of code embedded in digital content, like a web page or PDF, that describes a photo or graphic. You’ve probably seen it pop up when you hover over an image or when an image is missing. Also referred to as “alt descriptions”, “an alt attribute”, or technically incorrectly as “alt tags” alt text is critical for those with disabilities because it describes the function and appearance of a photo or graphic they cannot see.

Let’s look at an example of a good alt text for this image of a delicious-looking cupcake:

Raspberry ripple cupcake with pink and white frosting

Raspberry ripple cupcake with white and pink frosting

Correct alt text: Raspberry ripple cupcake with white and pink frosting.
Wrong alt text: Cupcake (this alt text is okay but it is not very descriptive).

Why is alt text important?

  • Accessibility

Alt text is a tenet of accessible web design. Its original (and still primary) purpose is to describe images to visitors who are unable to see them. This includes screen readers and browsers that block images, but it also includes users who are sight-impaired or otherwise unable to identify an image visually. Including alt text with your images ensures all users, regardless of visual ability, can appreciate the content on your site.
The reason for this is that alt text tells people about the content of an image without them having to actually look at it. This way, those who cannot see it can get information about what’s going on in a picture without reading it from another source (such as a description).
For example: if you’re creating a post about what your dog looks like, you could include helpful alt text like “This is my dog.” It would be easy for someone using a screen reader or browser that blocks images—or anyone who’s blind—to have access to this information by pressing their keyboard’s alt key while looking at the image of your pet in front of them.

  • Image SEO

Alt text is a great way to provide an extra layer of information when uploading images to your website. It can help users find the images they’re looking for, as well as inform search engine crawlers about what the image is about.
Alt text is also helpful for SEO purposes. It informs robots like Googlebot that there are more words in the image than just the one line of text in the title tag, which helps them index your site properly. This can help increase traffic and improve rankings in search engines—which means that it will help your business grow!