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What is Image Alt Text and is it Important? Comments Off on What is Image Alt Text and is it Important?

Young female web developer coding a website with image alt text

Image alt text is a text description about an image embedded within a web page. It is sometimes referred to as an “image alt tag” or simply “alt tag”. However, image alt text is not really a “tag”, but instead an HTML attribute within an HTML tag, the image tag.

What is an HTML Attribute?

An HTML attribute is a method by which additional information is provided about an HTML element.

What is an HTML Element?

An HTML element is information within a web page which instructs a web browser how render that web page.

What is an HTML Tag?

An HTML tag, such as an image tag, is a snippet of markup language which specifies the start and end of an HTML element within a web page or HTML document.

What does an Image Tag Look Like?

Below is an example of an image tag for an embedded image.

<img src=”/images/source-code.jpg” alt=”Source code of an HTML document”>

<img> represents the image tag itself, where the src and alt are attributes of the image tag.

Source code of an HTML document

In the preceding example of an image tag, the alt text utilizes a very specific description of the image, such that if you were unable to view the image itself, the alt text would give you an accurate description of that image which in this case is “Source code of an HTML document“.

What are the benefits of using Image Alt Text?

There are clearly some benefits associated with the use of image alt text. Unfortunately, many web designers and web developers fail to implement alt text within their embedded images, often due to indifference, laziness or both. Nonetheless, here are a few benefits from using image alt text within your image tags.

Assists the Visually Impaired

Visually impaired younger man using computer via a screen-reading device

Few people seem to realize that image alt text is actually a legal requirement in the U.S., per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as wells as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Thus, websites must provide disabled persons with equal access to electronic information as their non-disabled counterparts.

Therefore, when an image does not properly load within a web page, image alt text can inform visually impaired persons, via a screen-reading device, what those images are about.

Helps Search Engines, Helps You

Since search engines cannot view images like the human eye, implementing image alt text can help by providing keyword relevant text about embedded web page images. This makes it easier for search engines, such as Google, to ascertain what the photo is about, relative to the rest of the web page text content, and to more likely index it. This in turn, could get your images to appear in the SERPs of search engines such as Google, which can help people to discover your website. Thus, use of image alt text is good for SEO.

Using a search engine to find images

Is Image Alt Text Important?

As you can see, the implementation of image alt text is not only a good idea, but it benefits the website visitor, the website owner and search engines. Therefore, it is indeed a very important HTML attribute to use.

If you would like to learn more about image alt text, contact our expert team of Scottsdale web designers at 480-306-4260.

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