I’ve been asked by a few people lately why I add an image description to the bottom of my Instagram posts. So I thought I would answer that question today.
I didn’t fully understand Alt Text/Image Descriptions (ID) until about a year ago and it wasn’t until more recently that I knew how they worked or how to add them to my social media/blog.
What is Alt Text
Alt Text short for Alternative Text is a written description of an image that is read by screen readers and voiceover so someone with a visual impairment can also access the image.
Where is Alt Text Put
Alt Text can usually be added to something through the settings of that image. Every platform has their own usually complicated & non publicised way of adding Alt Text.
For example on Instagram I go to Advanced Settings, scroll down to Accessibility and select Write Alt Text.
I use a scheduling tool called Later though which doesn’t give me the option to add Alt Text so I do so once my post is published within the Instagram Post Settings.
The Difference Between Alt Text and Image Description
Honestly, not much. The real difference is that Alt Text is in the settings of the image & can only be read by Screen Readers or Voiceover versus Image Description which is usually added to the caption of the image.
Why I Use Alt Text and Image Description
Now that I know how I always use Alt Text but I still include a ID on Instagram as long as I have enough space in my caption for it.
I’ve chosen to continue adding ID’s for a few reasons:
1. I use a scheduling tool which requires me to add Alt Text after my post is published. In some circumstances I am unable to enter the Alt Text immediately and therefore including a ID in the caption I know that someone with a Vision Impairment can still access the image.
2. I personally find ID’s useful as a sighted person for a variety of reasons:
– I experience sensory overload sometimes and ID’s can help me to understand the image easily if an image has a lot going on.
– If an image contains text sometimes I struggle to read it due to the size of the text or the font and therefore I find ID’s useful.
Why Alt Text is so Important to Me as A Sighted Person?
Simply put I believe in inclusion.
Social media should be accessible to everyone and as a Disability Blogger I use social media to share my experiences, to raise awareness for disability and to connect with others with a disability, this includes people with a Vision Impairment.
I guess the question for me now is Why wouldn’t I use Alt Text?
If you don’t use Alt Text/ID then I shall ask you the same question I asked myself, if you were Visually Impaired would you want people to include Alt Text in their posts?