What is alt text?
Alt text – otherwise known as alternative text – is an attribute in the HTML code that describes images and videos. While alt text is not generally visible to end users, it’s a crucial element of any successful website.
Why is alt text important?
For starters, alt text allows the content on your website to be accessible to everyone, particularly people with vision impairments who often use screen readers to process the text on websites. This text-to-speech technology reads out the on-screen information or converts it to braille for the end users, including descriptions of the images/videos on the page (if alt text descriptions are implemented correctly).
For example, a lot of websites would use a magnifying glass to represent the search button, or a pencil icon for the editing functionality. A simple alt text saying ‘search’ or ‘edit’ will help anyone using screen readers to easily identity where to click.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a set of benchmarks published by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). There are 3 levels of conformance to this standard, and Level A being the minimum level states that “All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose…”
How does alt text improve SEO?
Alt text is also important to your website as it contributes greatly to image SEO. By including keywords directly relevant to the images or videos in the form of descriptions, this will help search engine crawlers to index your website content properly. Here’s an example below.
Alt Text Example
<img src="dogbarking.jpeg" alt="Sausage dog barking in yard" >
This alt text accurately describes the contents of the image, rather than simply using the word ‘dog’ as the description. Not only will auditing your alt text keep your website up to standard with accessibility guidelines, but steps like these also these steps help to ensure your customers or clients feel valued and respected.
WCAG Guidelines, Just in Mind