Writing image alt text

Alt text (alternate text) are the words used to describe an image when an image is not able to be seen on a computer. Here are a few tips on how to write appropriate alt text to explain images.

  • Only use 130 characters (approx. 16 words) to put the images in context for a person using an audio reader. You are not required to give all the details of the images.

For example
Two children – good but still not explaining the context
Two children’s feet standing on milk crates looking over fence – this explains why the images has been used for this flyer

  • For logos put in the actual name of the organisation (and don’t add in a logo to the end of the words).

If an image is only for impact and not to help you understand the information. Simply call it a spacer image or something similar.

Please feel free to contact me with any feedback and I will update this post.

Add alt text to images

Alternate text (alt text) is used in both PDF and website images to support people who use audio readers to understand documents that use images. To be enjoyed my more people the alt text needs to be added to images. Adding alt text is an involved process, one that can be assisted by identifying descriptions for the images. Since you know your images and the reason (context) for using them you will be able to identify more accurate for people using audio readers. Doing it this way will save you from your designer completing it.

Firstly go to the image in the finder or folder that you wish to work on. Right click on an image (or similar on a mac) and a menu list will appear. Pick properties at the bottom of the menu (left image).


This will open the properties dialogues box (right image). Under the details tab at the top of the dialogue box, place the alt (put) text next to the title box. You’ll need to let your designer know that you have put this information in or they will use custom settings.

Please feel free to contact me with any feedback and I will update this post.

PDF Digital Accessibility

Often when I create a printed design, I then convert it into a PDF to use as an eflyer to send out via email. When the PDF is specially formatted to be accessible to audio readers then information can be enjoyed by more people on the web. However, when a PDF is automatically created the text is not in the correct order for an audio reader. This makes it difficult or impossible to understand the information. If you want your PDF designs to be accessible for people who use readers to hear the PDF, you’ll need to tell your designer so they can correctly format it.

Print Design Accessibility

There are some simple rules to print design accessibility that make it easier to know if you are meeting basic accessibility standards. Whilst it is very fashionable to use small and light text when designing for print, a lot of people find highly designed material difficult to read. I personally prefer a clear design that is functional and accessible for a wide range of people. It is important that people who have vision difficulties have the opportunity to get the information that everyone else has access to.

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Karen uses visual art, print & web design with individuals and groups using a collaborative approach. This happens using dialogue, workshops and/or training to facilitate creation through to the final product.

Karen mainly works in Turrbal & Jagera Country (Brisbane).

Current Project

Colourise Festival 2017

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