Alt text on

by Meg Miller

What is alt text?

Alt text is a written description of an image posted online. It allows visual content to be accessible to people who are blind, low vision, or have certain cognitive disabilities.

Alt text is usually tucked away in a web page’s HTML code, the language that defines how information will appear on a browser. When it’s available, the text can be detected and read aloud or translated into Braille through screen readers, assistive technology that can be accessed in the form of software programs, apps or even browser extensions.

How do you add alt text on

On, the alt-text field can be found on the right hand side of a block, between “title” and “description.”

The alt-text field only appears when the block is of an image.

Simply write your alt-text for the image in the field and press “save.”

And how do you write alt-text?

The best guide we’ve found for how to write alt-text is Finnegan Shannon and Bojana Coklyat’s excellent Alt-Text as Poetry website and workbook.

As they explain:

There is no single correct answer [to how to write alt-text.] If you ask ten people to describe an image, you will get ten different descriptions.The same person might describe an image differently based on what’s on their mind or what context they are writing for. Better understanding the variety of ways to describe an image is part of the ongoing work of honing our craft as describers.

The short answer: how you write alt-text should depend on the context. That said, there are a few tried-and-true guidelines to keep in mind:

  • And as Finnegan and Bojana write: “When writing alt text, work in a way that centers the experience of someone who has limited or no access to the visual information in the image.”

  • Wikipedia's Style Guide offers these questions to ask yourself when writing alt text: Why is this image here? What information is it presenting? What purpose does it fulfill?

  • Write the most important aspects of the image first: what’s important about an image is subjective, but a good rule of thumb is to include what you would want to know about the image if you couldn’t see it.

  • Write what you see: describe what the image looks like, you don’t necessarily need to interpret it or provide deeper meaning or further context.

  • Keep it short and sweet: don’t go overly verbose, 1-2 sentences usually does the trick.

Alt text examples

A close shot of a greetings card, in which a gorilla in bed is clutching his bed sheets in modesty, as the enormous head of a blond woman peers curiously through the window. A King Kong reversal. (block) A man in a white suit stands behind another man with a towel around his neck, threatening the latter with a knife. A cut-out of Bruce Lee’s head has been affixed to a mirror, such that it looks to be floating above the shoulders of the actor who is playing him/his character. (block)

A single red rose on a textured white backdrop. (block)

A man with spiky hair and a blue windbreaker leans over a table covered in blue velvet, on top of which sit what look like large red-orange rocks, but are in fact ambergris. (block)

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