09.04.2024 r. Insight Land

Alt Attribute (Alternative Text Attribute)

What is alt attribute?

The Alt Attribute, commonly known as “Alt Text,” is an HTML specification used in web design and development to describe the content and function of an image on a webpage. It serves as a textual alternative to images for users who are unable to see them. This includes scenarios where images fail to load, or in the case of visually impaired users who rely on screen readers to browse the internet.

Why is alt attribute important?

Alt text is crucial for making web content accessible to users with visual impairments. Screen readers read out the alt text to describe images.

Search engines like Google use alt text to understand and index an image’s content, contributing to a website’s SEO performance.

In situations where an image cannot be displayed (due to slow connection, broken links, or if a user has image loading turned off), the alt text ensures that the information intended to be conveyed by the image is still accessible.

How does alt attribute work?

The alt attribute, also known as “alt text” or “alternative text,” works by providing a textual description of an image on a website. Here’s an overview of how it functions:

The alt attribute is added to the HTML code of an image tag (<img>). It looks like this: <img src="”image.jpg”" alt="”Description" of the image”>. The alt portion is where the description of the image is placed.

The text in the alt attribute is not typically visible to users who can see the image. It’s hidden in the HTML code and only displayed under certain conditions, like when the image file cannot be loaded due to a broken link, slow internet connection, or if the image is blocked.

For users who rely on screen readers due to visual impairment, the alt text is read aloud. This allows them to understand what the image is about even if they can’t see it.

Search engines use the alt text as a way to ‘read’ and understand what an image is about. Since search engines can’t visually interpret images, the alt text helps them index and rank the image appropriately in search results. This is particularly important for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Good to know about alt attribute

  • Excessive use of keywords in alt text can lead to ‘keyword stuffing’, which is penalized by search engines, potentially harming a website’s SEO.
  • If the alt text is irrelevant to the image, or if it’s missing entirely, it hinders both accessibility and SEO. Users and search engines may be unable to understand the context or content of the image.
  • Complex images like graphs or infographics may be challenging to describe accurately and concisely in alt text, potentially leading to incomplete or misleading information being conveyed.

In summary, the alt attribute plays a vital role in web accessibility, SEO, and overall user experience. Its effective use can enhance a website’s visibility and accessibility, while misuse or neglect can lead to poor user experience and lower search engine rankings.