Sunday, March 12, 2023

Alt Text Is Accessibility For All

orange background with text that reads alt text is accessibility for all in white and orange text on left, glasses with letters and numbers on right

By Kara Jackman

Accessibility is inclusion. CCA Kids strives to be as inclusive as possible and one of the ways we are working on meeting everyone’s needs is by providing alt-text in our social media and blog posts. Alt text describes images displayed on websites, social media, and other devices.. This allows people who are low vision, or blind to see what is depicted in the photo. There are screen readers, machines, or software and apps, that do just this for our friends in the CCA community with different vision-related issues. This way we can invite more people to view content on our website, social media posts, and other publications, thus widening the circle of acceptance.

screenshot of disability visibility instagram post with image and image description example in caption
Image Credit: @disability_visibility on Instagram

Let’s explore what alt text is. “Alt text (alternative text) describes the appearance or function of an image on a page.” For our purposes of accessibility, it is important that all people receive the information we post on our website, or share on social media. People that are low vision or blind may have a screen reader app or device that will use the alt-text to describe the image and its context on the website or a social media post. A list of screen readers, applications that read scan for text that describes an image, can be found on this website.

Sometimes this text is embedded in the image metadata, or the information about the picture that you do not see that sits behind the webpage you are reviewing.. In other instances, the text may be part of the social media caption so everyone can enjoy what you posted.

Here is an example of what this looks like on social media. In this example, the writer created an “image description” in the caption to make it accessible to all.

On websites, the text will be hidden in the code, as you see in this example for a bag of Doritos. The highlighted portion reads “<img alt> Doritos Tortilla Chips, Nacho Cheese, 1.75-Ounce Large single serve bags (pack of 64).” This text would be picked up by a screen reader and read aloud to the shopper so they know to purchase the correct item. Additionally, if the original image does not load, then the text would appear in place of the Doritos, describing it.

doritos example of alt text as it appears in a website html. doritos on left, html code on right
Image Credit:

In our community, we strive to level the playing field for all. Alt text is just one way we practice the principles of universal design, which is defined as “the design of buildings, products or environments to make them accessible to people, regardless of age, disability or other factors. (Wikipedia).” CCA practices inclusion in so many different ways, including choosing Annual Retreat locations and office spaces with curb cuts, elevators, and accessible hotel rooms, In between Retreats, we connect with one another online. Describing our images, and writing in fonts that are easy to read, provides everyone a seat at our CCA family table.


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