Today we all take looking at photos on websites and social media is something we take for granted. But for people who are Blind or Low Vision can be really difficult if someone doesn’t take the time to describe that photos.
But how exactly do Blind or Low Vision people look at these photos? Well people with Low Vision might choose to use Zoom features to be able to look at a photo or read some text, but it’s a little different for people you have no vision at all. People with no vision use something called a ‘Screen Reader’. A ‘Screen Reader’ is a piece of software, that can either be built into a device like all Apple iOS or Mac products, or in some cases android too. This little of software reads all things on the screen to a Blind person, whether that be text messages, the weather, or even ebooks. But it will always read ‘Alt Text’ on websites to describe photos.
‘Alt Text’ is a simple piece of code on a website that allows people to add descriptions to photos which Screen Readers can read if the person has ‘Voice Over’ on, but it embedded into the photos, so it is hidden by sight users to your website (social media alt text will be covered below). Websites like ‘Wordpress’ make it very easy to allow owners of a website to add descriptions to photos. For more information on adding alt text to your wordpress website you can click here!
Here are two examples, the first image doesn’t have Alt Text, but the image underneath does:
So adding ‘Alt Text to photos to tweets on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook is so, so easy, and even more important now more and more people are now using social media even more! So below I am going to give you some instructions on how to add Alt Text for each of these websites:
So adding Alt Text to your photos along with your tweets is as follows:
- Firstly, click or tap on the compose tweet button, type out your tweet, then at the bottom, tap or click on the add photos button.
- Once you have selected the image, at the bottom right of the thumbnail of the image, there is an alt text button, once tap or clicked another window will appear where you can typed on the description of the photos.
- Once you have typed on the description, then just tap or click then done button, then just tap or click the tweet button.
Adding descriptions to your instagram photos goes like this:
- Tap on the ‘add photo’ cross at the top right of the app, the dice on the photo.
- Once you have added a filter if you chose to, then once the ‘New Post’ window appears click or tap the ‘advanced settings’ option that the very bottom of all the options on the page.
- Once there, scroll all the way down the ‘accessibility’ section, under that is the ‘write alt text’ button, tap on that. once there it gives you a huge section for you to be as descriptive as you like! The more descriptive the better!
Unfortunately, Facebook does not have a way for you to embed the description into the photo. So the only way around this is to add a photo description underneath your post along with the photo, with the words ‘photo description’ along with the description of the photo.
Adding Alt Text, to photos to some might be an extra thing you have to when you ‘just want to post an image to your friends’. But just taking this little extra step before pressing share. Means that everyone can enjoy your photos including people with vision loss!
I have had the massive honour and privilege, on not doing this post alone! This post has been part of a campaign called #DescribeThePic along with the brilliant Siobhan Meade creator of the YouTube channel ‘Blind Girl Vlogs’ an channel of which you can find here or her twitter here. But also the wonderful Emily Davison who creates fashion and all things Visually Impaired blog posts and videos on her website, YouTube channel, and twitter whom I have follow for a while and it has been a joy to work with!
Thank you Siobhan and Emily for having me! I’ve enjoyed it so much!
I know this is complexly different to what normally post about, but this a topic which is near and dear to me, so I was something that when asked I really wanted to get involved with. So I hope you have got something out of this, and hopefully next time you post an image to social media or website.
If you decided to post a photo in the near future, or decide to make video or blog post also on this same subject, then please do so. I’d would love to hear what you guys think about this! But then you do, please use the hashtag #DescribeThePic on social media, that way people can also see your creations and your opinions too!
Due to world pandemic as many have seen, the theatre industry is none existent! So I am not sure when my next post is going to be, as there will be no Pantomime post this year. But I want to take this time to wish all a Very Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!!
Until Next Time!
The VI Critic
4 thoughts on “Why ‘Alt Text’ Is Awesome! – #DescribeThePic”
A great article. You are right; it makes a lot of difference in the lives of people with no vision or partially impaired; if we do Alt text. I started doing it as I joined Twitter last year. But, I did not do it to my Instagram photos, and you have given a good suggestion for Facebook too. Thank you very much for such a needed post. Merry Xmas and happy new year to you, Emily Siobhan, and the friends who are making it possible and easier for people to hear what they can’t see.#DescribeThepic.
This has really reminded me that I need to make more effort to use image descriptions on my social media content. I didn’t realise Facebook doesn’t allow you to embed the description onto the photo, they should really work on that!
This has really reminded me that I need to make more of an effort to use image descriptions on my social media content. I didn’t realise Facebook didn’t allow you to embed the description onto the photo, they should really work on that!
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Great post. I decided the for my first post, I am going to talk about Alt text. I did a WordPress search, and Wah-La, you were the first post. Glad to meet you. I am in the state of New York, NY. All the best. JC
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