Alt Text

Alt Text: Enhancing Accessibility in UX/UI Design

Alt text, short for alternative text, is a critical element in web and UX/UI design used to describe the content of images. It plays a crucial role in making digital content accessible to users who are visually impaired or have other disabilities that prevent them from seeing images on a screen.

What is Alt Text?

Alt text is a brief textual description of an image’s content. It serves several important purposes in UX/UI design:

  • Accessibility: Alt text ensures that users who cannot see images can still understand their purpose and context.
  • SEO: Alt text helps search engines understand the content of images, improving the website’s SEO and discoverability.
  • Clarity: It provides additional context for all users, enhancing the overall user experience.

Why is Alt Text Important?

  1. Accessibility: Alt text is crucial for users who rely on screen readers or other assistive technologies to navigate the web. It describes images so that these users can understand and interact with content that sighted users can see.
  2. Compliance: Including alt text is often required by accessibility standards such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), ensuring websites are accessible to all users.
  3. Enhanced User Experience: Alt text contributes to a more inclusive user experience by providing equal access to information for all users, regardless of their abilities.
  4. SEO Benefits: Search engines use alt text to index images, which can improve the visibility of web pages in search results when images are relevant to the query.

Best Practices for Writing Alt Text

  1. Be Descriptive: Describe the content and function of the image accurately and succinctly.
  2. Contextual Relevance: Ensure that the alt text provides meaningful information related to the surrounding content and purpose of the image.
  3. Avoid Redundancy: Do not repeat information already conveyed in the text adjacent to the image.
  4. Keep it Concise: Aim for alt text that is brief but descriptive, typically no more than a sentence or two.

Examples of Effective Alt Text

  1. Descriptive: “A close-up photo of a person using a white cane for navigation.”
  2. Functional: “Submit button with ‘Send Message’ text in a contact form.”
  3. Contextual: “Historic landmark with tourists walking around.”
  4. Decorative: “Decorative pattern of leaves bordering a webpage.”

How to Implement Alt Text

  1. HTML: Use the alt attribute in HTML <img> tags to specify alt text directly in the markup.


    <img src="example.jpg" alt="Description of the image">

  2. Content Management Systems (CMS): Most CMS platforms provide fields or options to add alt text when uploading images to ensure accessibility.
  3. Screen Readers: Test the alt text using screen readers or browser extensions to verify its effectiveness and accuracy.

Tools for Ensuring Alt Text Accessibility

  1. Accessibility Auditing Tools: Tools like WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool) or Axe can help identify missing or inadequate alt text on web pages.
  2. Screen Readers: Use screen reader software such as NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) or VoiceOver (for macOS and iOS) to simulate the experience of users with disabilities.


Alt text is a fundamental aspect of accessibility in UX/UI design, ensuring that all users, including those with visual impairments, can access and understand digital content. By following best practices and integrating alt text effectively, designers can create more inclusive and user-friendly experiences that comply with accessibility standards and improve overall usability.

Ondrej Zoricak
Ondrej Zoricak