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Digital Accessibility

Alternative Text

Alt text (or alternative text) is a description of an image that allows those who cannot see the image to access its visual information.

Why Do We Need Alt Text?

Images usually communicate important visual information. If someone can't see an image for any reason, alt text gives them a way to access that information.

Alt text is crucial for screen reader users.

Without alt text, screen reader users who are blind or low vision have no way of obtaining the information communicated by your visuals. People with cognitive disabilities that use a screen reader also benefit from alt text.

Anyone might be in a situation where they can't see images.

If someone's internet connection is slow or their computer settings disable images from loading, alt text can allow them access to image information.

Always Consider Alt Text

Almost every image you publish in a digital context will require alt text, with decorative images being a notable exception; however, decorative images still must be marked appropriately so that a screen reader will skip them.

Writing effective alt text can seem difficult at first, but if you follow our step-by-step instructions to analyze your images and understand what they're communicating, it will become easier. 

Types of Images That Need Alt Text

Our guides can help you write alt text for the following common types of images.

Adding Alt Text in Specific Platforms

The way you'll add alt text to your images will depend on the tool or platform you're using to publish digital content.

OCR Video Series: Alternative Text

Video thumbnail for Topic 10: Alternative Text.
Learn more about how and why to write meaningful alternative text by watching this topic in the OCR video series.


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