Alternative text, (known as alt text) describes the appearance and function of images on web pages. It is read aloud by screen readers to aid the visually impaired and provides context about images for search engines. Also known as alt attributes, alt descriptions, or incorrectly as alt tags, alt text is implemented in HTML code or content management systems.
It enables those with visual impairments to understand images via screen readers. This helps websites adhere to accessibility guidelines. Alternative texts also display if an image fails to load, providing visitors with context if images don’t appear. Additionally, it helps search engines understand and properly index images.
Alt Text Uses
- Aids accessibility for the visually impaired. Screen readers read aloud alt text so those with visual impairments understand images.
- Appears if an image fails to load. This provides context to visitors if images don’t appear.
- Provides more context about images to search engines. This helps them properly index and rank images in search engines.
Why is Alt Text Important?
It provides critical context for both humans and search engines. For humans, it enables screen readers to describe images to the visually impaired. Statistics show:
- 12 million Internet users have visual impairments or low vision.
- 97.4% of homepages contain accessibility errors, with missing alternative text being the biggest culprit at 61%.
- People with disabilities have substantial income potential but require accessible websites to engage this audience.
Additionally, this gives search engines added context to understand, properly index, and rank images in results. As image search grows popular, alternative text becomes vital for images to appear properly in search engines.
In summary, alternative text may seem simple but provides tremendous value. It makes websites accessible to more people and helps search engines properly display images. Given these human and technical benefits, the alt text should be implemented on all important images.
Alt text is short descriptions for images on web pages that aid accessibility and search engine optimization. By providing descriptions of images for screen readers, these makes websites more usable for the visually impaired. Additionally, alternative texts give search engines a better understanding of images to improve image search results. Though small, it delivers outsized impacts on accessibility and SEO.