Web Accessibility and the Importance of Image Alt Tags
People with different types of disabilities require a variety of web accessibility options. Approximately 20% of the world's population (or 1.5 billion people) rely on accessible web pages. These types of pages allow people with disabilities to unlock all the available options on the internet.
- A person with a motor disability needs to be able to navigate an entire website using the keyboard instead of a mouse
- Subtitles or sign language interpretation needs to appear alongside videos for someone who is deaf.
- A student with low vision needs a high contrast ratio and clear fonts on all text
- Someone who's blind needs descriptive alt tags of images so their screen reader can describe them
In 1999, W3C published its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 to explain how to make content more accessible for users with disabilities. One of these guidelines was to “Provide equivalent auditory and visual content alternatives.” That meant any web pages including images (or movies, sounds, applets, etc.) should include equivalent information to its visual or auditory content.
Images and Alternative Attributes
Many business owners assume that their images are not crucial for visually impaired users; as a result, they put the focus on the site's written content. However, there are ways to optimize images so that a visually impaired user can have an improved and more comprehensive experience on your website. An often-neglected element for an accessible website is the image alternative attributes or alt tags.
This type of tag describes the image, conveys the purpose, and helps users who rely on assistive technology to properly understand pictures used on a website.
Search engines also struggle to read images. So, getting into a good habit of including specific alt tags for each image on your website can help humans and search engines understand what they are "seeing".
Here are a few things to remember when working with alt tags on your website.
Where to find alt tags: In most content management systems, clicking on an image in a body of a blog post or web page produces an image optimization where you can create and change the image's alt text.
What to include in alt tags: Be specific with the image's description and be sure to convey the purpose of an image. Add context that relates to the topic of the page. It's best to use proper grammar in alt tags, which requires a capital letter at the start of a sentence and a period at the end.
Alt Text should be fewer than 125 characters: Screen reading tools usually cut off reading alt text at this point.
Use keywords in moderation: Use the article keyword in the alt text if it's easy to include.
Be brief but concise: Don't start the description with "picture of..." or "Image of..." Go right into the image's description.
At Jason Hunter Design, we use the tool accessiBe to ensure that our clients' websites are accessible. If you would like to explore this option so that you are sure to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), fill out the form below or give us a call. We'd love to help.
What It Is, How to Write It, and Why It Matters to SEO. https://superinvestmentssw.com/2021/07/13/what-it-is-how-to-write-it-and-why-it-matters-to-seo/