The Alt Tag is used describe the image. Respectively, it should explain what the image represents. Are you confused yet? Don’t worry most people have no idea how important it is to make sure that your ALT tags are both accurate, and representative of the content you are using it with.
The main purposes of an ALT tag is for the benefit of visually impaired users. Yes you read that correctly. In order to make websites more accessible to those with visual impairments, website developers have created a system that allows the user to get a fuller experience from using the internet. Technology allows people who utilize screen readers on their computer, tablet, or phone when browsing online.
Another reason to have ALT tags is because users can choose to turn off images while they are using the internet. This allows them to use their tech without having to download every image they find online. While most people like to see the pictures, others do not like having to house them in their cache. Believe it or not there are browsers that only read text out there.
What do you need to know about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to private businesses’ websites?
In June 2017 a visually impaired plaintiff won the first lawsuit against a grocery store chain in a Florida federal court. The verdict in favor of the plaintiff who had sued the grocery chain, claiming it violated the Americans With Disabilities Act because its websites were not accessible to blind and vision-impaired users. SOURCE HERE
What does that mean for your website? It means that the door has been opened for others who are visually impaired can follow suit. But it is more than the fear of being sued. We as business owners should WANT to be inclusive to all audiences. It takes a few extra minutes to create an ALT tag and create a better user experience.
Do you want a list of things you need to do to make your website ADA compliant? We have it here: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/
Is there a strategic reason to use ALT tags?
Yes, yes YES! Search Engines look for ALT tags to help them identify visual content that is relative to a search. It is important when you are developing content for your website that you use images that give you a visual representation about your topic.
ALT tags become important when identifying keywords or phrases that may help promote the topic of interest on a website. In previous blogs we talk about Google and the ways that the Google Algorithm looks at your website. You can read that article HERE. We won’t spend too much time talking about it here, but the idea of having your visuals match your content is important.
Here are the main things you have to think about when creating an ALT tag:
- Describe the image
- Use fewer than 125 characters
- Never begin an alt text with “picture of” or “Image of”
- Use your keywords but make sure to not over do it
- Don’t put every single keyword into each alt tag.
Conclusion: You are now aware of ALT tags. It is important that we all start using them correctly to identify the images in our emails, websites, and blogs. When used correctly they can be a great tool for improving the quality of your content for search engines as well as user friendly for those with visual impairments. Go out there and make me proud people. You can do it.