Alt Text: How To Start Using It Today
To Create Accessible Content
why you need alt text and how to use it
By Amber Gerdes | March 31 2022
Let’s talk about something I’ve been going on and on about lately… ALT TEXT!
Whether you’ve heard of this before and are looking to know what’s up, or this is completely new to you, you need to know about alt text and how to use it in your social media marketing in 2021.
What is alt text?
Alt text is descriptive text that screen readers use to properly describe an image to a blind or visually impaired social media user. When a user uploads a photo or graphic to social media, they have the option to input alt text to describe what the image is portraying.
Down below, I’ll include screenshots to show you how to add alt text to your social media posts; but, firstly, I want to tell you why you should use alt text.
Why should I use alt text?
It’s incredibly important that you incorporate alt text into your social media strategy because if you don’t, you are making it impossible for the entirety of the blind/visually impaired community to fully enjoy the content you’re sharing.
You may have heard that alt text is also a way to boost Search Engine Optimization, since the words provided in alt text descriptions are searchable by algorithms and then used to categorize content depending on what you put in your descriptions.
This is true—and I think it’s a great way for social media platforms to incentivize users to utilize alt text.
However, keyword stuffing your alt text is a big no-no because the content experience for those that depend on alt text suffers if the description reads like an SEO bot instead of like an actual human.
Accessibility for all people should always take priority over SEO, reach, or any other key performance indicator.
How do I use alt text?
For the sake of this blog post, I’m using screenshots from Instagram, but the process is similar (and actually even easier) on other social media platforms as well.
Adding alt text to a new Instagram post:
Adding alt text to an existing Instagram post:
There is no special character amount for alt text descriptions—just whatever will sufficiently describe the photo enough for anyone to understand it.
Now that you know what alt text is, why you should use it, and how you should use it, I hope you feel empowered to go create more accessible content!