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How to Write Effective Alt Text

Alternative text (alt text) is an important part of website optimization. But how do you write it effectively, for the people with visual impairments and for the search engines? Follow this step-by-step guide to writing good alt text.

Examine your image closely 

What is happening in the image? What information is it conveying? What would a viewer be missing if they couldn’t see this image? 

Mention the specific image medium

Your viewer’s screen reading program will tell them that it is an image, but not what kind. Is it a photo, an illustration, or an infographic? This detail will help your audience understand your content much better and take action if it calls for one. When writing alternative text, be as specific as possible, instead of simply stating “image of…”

Include all important elements 

Consider everything, even what is being implied. Is the image conveying a mood, activity, etc. not mentioned elsewhere? 

If the image has text, write it out

Graphics, posters, and other designed image content frequently feature copy. Make sure to write it out when working on your alt text.

Consider the image’s layout

If the layout is essential, include details about it in your alt text.

Consider uX while writing alt text

Keeping user experience in mind will help you determine which elements add to the website experience and which don’t. For instance, decorative images that serve no function beyond aesthetics do not require alternative text. 

By following these steps, you can ensure that your visual content is accessible to everyone and helps your site rank higher in search results. Learn more about Alt Text Best Practices.

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