Image ALT Text

Images should have meaningful alternative text. The purpose of alt text is to provide an alternative description for an image. Every image needs to have an alternative text description so if somebody with visual disabilities (somebody who is blind) visits your site with the use of a screen reader or translator then that person can understand the meaning behind the photo that she (or he) cannot visually see.

The alternative text serves several functions:

  1. Screen readers read the alternate text in place of images allowing the content and purpose of the image to be accessible to those with visual disabilities.
  2. Web browsers display the alternate text of the image if the image file is not loaded or if the user has chosen to not view images.
  3. Search engines use the alternate text to provide a semantic meaning and description which can be used to determine the content of the image.

Alternative Text

In the Photo section of a content type you may upload images to insert into your webpage. Alternative text is required and you will get an error message if you click Upload without filling in the Alternative text field.

Alternative text field

Be thoughtful when entering your alternative text when you first upload an image. You may change it later but you will need to delete the image from the page and reinsert the image in order for the new alternative text to be updated in the page code. 

No Alternative text error


Alternate Text Suggestions

  • If the image contains meaningful text, the alternate text should contain that text.
  • If the image is a photograph, the alternate text should describe the photograph. There does not need to be a high level of detail in the description. A good guideline is how would you describe a photo if you were telling someone about it on the telephone.
  • There is no need to include "image of" or "photo of" in the alternate text.

Additional Resources