Tagged for OEG Connect: How to Write Alt Text and Image Descriptions for the visually impaired – Perkins School for the Blind

What’s of interest? How to Write Alt Text and Image Descriptions for the visually impaired – Perkins School for the Blind

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Making your website and social media accessible to people with blindness and low vision.

Over the last few years, I have become a leading expert in how to write alt text and image descriptions for the visually impaired, inclusive of blind/low vision audiences. Fewer than 1% of images online contain alt text or image descriptions for people with vision loss, which means that people who use screen readers are unable to access images and other visual content that can connect them to information and facilitate communication, so adding alt text and/or image descriptions are a great way to stand out and be inclusive of audiences with vision loss, while simultaneously improving the SEO of an image and making it easier to understand what is going on. Here are my general tips for how to write alt text and image descriptions for the visually impaired, which has been updated since I originally posted this in 2018.

Where is it?: https://www.perkins.org/resource/how-write-alt-text-and-image-descriptions-visually-impaired/

This is one among many items I will regularly tag in Pinboard as oegconnect, and automatically post tagged as #OEGConnect to Mastodon. Do you know of something else we should share like this? Just reply below and we will check it out.


I found this reference one of the netter ones I have come across with a practical guide to writing alt text. This came from a post in Mastodon from an Alt Text Hall of Fame account

The image includes a useful guide in its example of the capybara and the elements listed of “including identify who, expression, description, colour, and interesting features.”

What I find frustrating in interfaces like I saw it (Mastodon on the web) is that alt text is only presented as a"hover text", there is no easy way for me to copy/paste it say if I reuse the image or want to provide the text as an example (I have to resort to inspecting source in my browser)

Why can’t I get direct access to this text?

As an interesting discovery, I made a screen shot on my Mac OSX laptop, and when I opened it the Preview app, I discover that image text is selectable! I have seen that on my iOS devices.

But the main point here was to share the Perkins resource for how to write Alt text (and pointing out the difference between that and image descriptions)

I also am a fan of the POET resource, which offers interactive practice exercises for writing ALT text.

What are you recommended guides for writing alt-text? And are you making use, finding any success with the new wave of AI generated alt text?

Great to read about this (new to me) resource! My go-to is the BCcampus Accessibility Toolkit (2nd edition). In particular, I go back to section 4 on long image descriptions consistently.

This reference was provided to me by the editor of my future article in the journal Open PraxisAlt Text SEO: Why is Alt Text Important? - Moz

Thanks for joining this conversation, Dalila! Just out of curiosity, without giving away too much, what is your future article about?

We are pleased to have you here in OEG Connect.

Thank you, this is an article authored by contributors from a project supported by LH MENA focusing on open scholar competencies. It is titled “Towards a Competence Framework for Open Scholars: Acknowledging the Dearth of Epistemic Competences” and highlights the essential competencies of open scholar, which we have specified through our research.