What is an alternative text?
Alternative text, sometimes called textual alternative, alt text or simply a description, is the written description of an image or photo directly integrated into a web page. Its purpose is to describe the image's content as simply and clearly as possible.
This promotes accessibility, as the image's content will then be available to :
- visually impaired users,
- color-blind users,
- Blind users (using a text-to-speech browser), those with a slow internet connection, or those who have disabled the display of images voluntarily.
The other advantage of alternative text is that it improves the natural referencing of visual content, as search engines and different algorithms will then have an easier time understanding the content of your publication and thus classifying it to display it to people likely to appreciate it.
In the web world, alternative text corresponds to the alt tag.
How to add alternative text to my photos from Iconosquare
Adding alternative text to your photos is done when scheduling your publication from the Scheduling section.
- Click on New Publication, then select a post type containing images. You can also edit a publication already scheduled.
- Add one or more media to your publication. A text box appears under each image.
- Fill in your alternative text under each of your images. Use the arrows under the image to change the image and fill in the description for your other media.
- Finish the publication as you usually would!
Which social networks can I add alternative text to?
Currently, only Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are available for adding alternative text. Instagram does not yet offer this functionality in its API, and TikTok only allows the publication of videos incompatible with an alternative text.
How to write a good alternative text?
Here are some tips for writing good alternative text:
- Be descriptive and use a natural tone of voice. Think about how you would describe an image to someone in a conversation.
- Don't try to fill the alternative text with keywords. Please be sure to use keywords sparingly and appropriately.
- Include the text that is part of the image, if relevant. Don't start your alternative text with "Image of ..." or "Photo of ...".
- End your alternative text with a period, as this allows screen readers to pause.
For example, for this image:
A bad alternative text would be: "Image of a cat"
A good alternative text would be: "A black cat sitting on a red couch with a white cushion."