Always provide good image descriptions

People with visual impairment may not be able to see the images you place on your site. Because being accessible means that all communications — textual or visual — can be understood by all visitors, we need to provide a textual description of every image on our sites. This is called “alternative text” or “alt text.” All images must have Alt Text associated with them (this is actually a legal requirement, not just a nice-to-have).

Not sure how to write alt text for your image? Check out the Alt Text Decision Tree!

Sometimes we give images alternative text that is not helpful for those using screen readers. Examples of poor alternative text include:

  • Image
  • Photo
  • img_12345.jpg

None of these provide a user with enough descriptive information to know what the image depicts.

Instead, we should provide descriptive, informative text, such as:

  • Students playing Ultimate on the bald spot
  • Laird Hall
  • Group photo of the 2022–23 RAs

How do I fix this?

  1. Edit the content of the page
  2. Click the photo that is displayed
  3. Edit the image’s alternative text.
screenshot of wordpress page editor highlighting an embedded photo and red arrow pointing to the alt text field

Additionally, it’s best practice to add alt text upon uploading images to your Media Library. When editing the image details there is a field at the top for alternative text.

screenshot of attachment details window in the WordPress media library, red box surrounding the alt text field