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What Does Alt Text Do

What Does Alt Text Do?

Alt text is a short written description that accompanies an image on a website or in a document. The purpose of alt text is to provide more information regarding an image that may not be immediately apparent to some users. Alt text serves two primary purposes: accessibility and search engine optimization.

Accessibility:

The web is meant to be an inclusive space, where everyone can participate equally. However, many users with disabilities rely on assistive technology, such as screen readers, to navigate websites. Screen readers help visually impaired users interact with the web by reading out content on the page. However, when they come across an image, they have no way of knowing what the image shows unless alt text is present. Alt text provides a short description of the image, which is then read out by the screen reader, enabling visually impaired users to understand the context of the image.

Search engine optimization:

As mentioned earlier, alt text serves a second purpose which is optimizing images for search engines. Search engines like Google have algorithms that crawl the web to generate search results. These algorithms cannot actually see images, so they rely on alt text to determine what an image represents. The alt text helps the search engine to understand the content of the image, which in turn, makes it more likely to appear in relevant search results.

In conclusion, alt text is a crucial part of website design because it provides additional information about images that is important for both accessibility and search engine optimization. As an intermediate user, it’s essential to understand the importance of alt text and to ensure that it is present and descriptive for all images on your website or in your documents, especially if they contain important information. By doing so, you will make your content more accessible to all users and improve your search engine rankings.

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