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Craig, Web Developer, types on Macbook laptop

You Should Be Using Alt Text ASAP

There’s been a lot of talk about Alt Text recently and how it can benefit your brand on social media. At Hey Mr, we’re always on top of how cool tech tools can help our business and our clients. This blog about Alt Text will surely help your organization be more accessible on social and even boost your SEO!

What is Alt Text?

Alt Text, or alt descriptions, is the text that accompanies your image if the image fails to load or a user is using screen-reading technology. Alt Text can be used on your website, but also on social media posts.

Why Should I Care?

First, Alt Text is becoming increasingly used for visually impaired users that rely on screen-reading technology to use social media. It ensures that everyone who visits your site or social media page can consume and engage with your content. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has declared access to the web a basic human right, and the Internet needs to provide equal access to everyone. The Web Accessibility Initiative provides helpful information and tips on how web accessibility benefits not just disabled groups, but older people, those living in rural areas, and more. Hootsuite says “a 2018 survey of Facebook users in 50 countries found that more than 30% of people report difficulty with at least one of the following: seeing, hearing, speaking, organizing thoughts, walking, or grasping with their hands.” 15% of the world’s population experiences some disability.

Second, if your image doesn’t load, at least there’s something to describe the pic.

Third, search engine crawlers are looking for images too. If they are able to index an image properly, that’s a win for you!

Alt Text, otherwise known as a win-win-win.

Web Crawlers? So Will It Help My Company’s SEO?

You betcha. Web crawlers can’t “see” images, so they rely on descriptions. By including relevant keywords, it makes a crawler’s job easier and ranks your site/post higher.

 Not only does it help visually impaired users, but Google’s SERPs generate images, as well as text, in search results. If you’re spending the time to optimize your web page’s text, you should give images the same love. Alt Text essentially can act like a hyperlinked image that goes straight to your website. If you don’t believe us, Google themself said to use Alt Text.

What Makes Good Alt Text?

Specificity is KEY. Can you add the colors in the image? Was the image taken in a certain city or location? Are there any people in the image that could add more context. It’s also important that your Alt Text relates to your web page or blog as much as possible. If you ask yourself why you are using the image in the first place (to better describe a concept, to add humor, to visually describe what is being posted, to enhance the text, etc.), that might give you a better idea as to what you should caption your Alt Text

How Do I Add Alt Text?

So we’re not going to explain all the nitty-gritty about how to add it to a website, but if you do need help with web, you know what to do (#SayHeyMr).

Another easy way to make your brand more inclusive is including Alt Text on social posts too. According to Paul Ferrara with American Printing House for the Blind (APH), visually impaired people are just as likely to use social media as someone with normal vision. While it should be a priority to do Alt Text for all your social media posts, socialmediaexaminer.com says to “focus on updating your most popular posts, your product or service-related posts, and your most brand-relevant posts.”

It’s super easy to add. See how below:

  1. On the final page right before posting, click Advanced Settings at the bottom.
  2. Under Accessibility, there is an option to write Alt Text.
  3. Write your Alt Text (use best practices below!) and Save.
  1. Tap three-dot button on top right of post.
  2. Click Edit.
  3. You will see the “Aa Edit Alt Text” in the bottom right corner of the image. Tap!
  4. Write your Alt Text (use best practices below!) and Save.
  1. Click Photo/Video at the top of your News Feed.
  2. Select the photo you want to add.
  3. Hover over the photo and click Edit with the pencil.
  4. The automatically generated text will be shown on the left side of your photo. Click Override generated Alt Text to edit it.
  5. Write your Alt Text in the box. To change back to the automatically generated text, click Clear.
  6. To save your Alt Text, click Save in the bottom left.

See Facebook instructions here.

  1. Click the photo to open it.
  2. Click the three-dot button in the top right and select Change Alt Text.
  3. Click Override generated Alt Text or change the Alt Text in the text box. You can also click Clear to change your edited Alt Text back to the automatically generated text.
  4. Click Save.

See Facebook instructions here.

  1. Click on the Tweet compose button, and attach your photo(s).
  2. To insert descriptive text, click Add description.
  3. Type your description of the image and click the Done button. To edit the description, re-open the Add description dialog prior to posting the Tweet. (The limit is 1000 characters.)
  4. You can add a description to each image in a Tweet.
  5. *Note that image descriptions cannot be added to videos.

See Twitter instructions here.

  1. Click the Add description button with the pencil at the top right of your image.
  2. *Note that this is not available when posting from mobile devices.

See LinkedIn instructions here.

Craig, Web Developer, types on Macbook laptop

Best Alt Text Practices

  • Use 125 words or fewer. Screen-reading tools often stop reading after 125 words.
  • There’s no need to say “photo of” or “image of,” screen-reading tools know what’s an image from the HTML code. Especially if a screen-reader was describing multiple images, it’d be tiring to hear “image of” over and over.
  • Use keywords, but not too many. The goal should still be to describe the image, but if you’re able to fit a keyword or two in, it’ll boost SEO!
  • Don’t repeat yourself. Don’t put an Alt Text description if you’re reiterating something on the page.
  • Add Alt Text for GIFs too! 

#SayHeyMr

What do you think about Alt Text? Is your brand using Alt Text in a new and innovative way? Let us know in the comments, or #SayHeyMr and let us help make your business more accessible.

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