Are you guilty of it? The issue causes disappointment. Which is similar to the confusion I feel when a person helping me says the non-directive, “Oh, it’s over there.” Where is there, I wonder.
I scroll through Instagram smiling at smiling terriers and I’m like, like, liking…and then I pause with disappointment. A lack of contrast or context leaves me out of the post. Or it’s the digital newsletter I open which includes pictures, but all my VoiceOver tells me about them is, “Image 1,” and, “Image 2.”
The issue is no one completed the alt text fields and my screen reader has no descriptive label to share with me. It’s like a professional sports team playing in jerseys without either names or numbers. Who is that, I wonder.
Like captions under newspaper photos, alt text coded on digital images identifies things, but if it’s left blank, I’m left out. This time of year with holiday greetings and messages popping up all over, it’s an image-rich winter wonderland.
Sure, Stockton is happy to explain family photo cards we receive in the mail. But is it really the best use of his time to narrate every single say podcast newsletter meme missing labels or Instagram post that lacks even a photo description (PD) sentence after the copy but before the hashtag parade? Do you have any idea how many terriers, let alone my favorite welshie accounts post regularly? And that’s only the dogs. I’m not even counting all the human accounts I check occasionally. There is not enough time in the day, people.
Instead, those who hit the Publish button can include a simple step to open up their work to more readers. For your images, fill out that alt text box. And because I want this to be easy, here are step -by-step directions straight from the platforms:
- Add automatic or custom alt text on Instagram.
- Add images with description on TinyLetter.
- Add alt text to images on Mailchimp.
- Add alt text to images on WordPress.
If you’re sticking to old-fashioned paper, you could call your friends living with blindness and describe your images to them. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, don’t we? You’re welcome. And everybody else, please start alt textin’ or including a quick PD sentence with your images. We can’t cheer you on if we don’t see you on the field.
Do you ever wonder who or what you’re looking at on your screen? How would you feel if images never included description? Tell me about it.