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Samples of Alt text

This page was created to give Production Assistants some writing samples for alt text. For more information about how and when to create alt text, please see the Images page.

Keep in mind that maps and graphs will sometimes have lengthier descriptions (>120 words) which you should include in an in-text Producer's Note, using the Prodnote - Optional (DAISY) style. For more information about when & how to provide alt text as a Producer's Note, see Step 8 of the alt text instructions. For more general information about adding Producer's Notes, see: Producer's Note.

The following examples are meant to be used as general guidelines, and as inspiration for writing alt text. Remember, the style and tone of the book you are working should be the greatest influence for the alt text you create.


This image is from All we Leave Behind, by Carol Off. It is a non-fiction, journalistic style book written for a general audience. The images in the text are from her time in the Middle-East.

[All we Leave Behind - 1]:
"[Caption from text] A snowball fight during the trip to Mazar-e-Sharif. Asad and Sher Shah flank our driver."
Alt text: Two vehicles are parked on a road. A rocky hill is to the left of the vehicles, snow-covered land to the right. Carol is standing near the first vehicle and ducks down slightly, with her back to the camera. By the other vehicle, Asad, the driver, and Sher Shah stand facing Carol. They are all smiling; one is packing a snowball in his hands.

This next image is from Bone Mother by David Demchuk. It is a horror fiction book made up of connected short stories; each chapter is named after a person and includes a vintage photograph. All of the images are cracked, torn, or decaying, and since this repeats in every picture, this sort of information should be included only in the first image description. Exceptions were made when a photo was notably decayed.

[The Bone Mother - 1]:
Alt text: Portrait of a young woman and boy, standing in front of a cloth backdrop which has been painted with windows and flowers. The woman wears satiny pants and a satiny top, and her dark hair is twisted up. She stands with her side to the camera, but looks forward. She is holding the boy up in the air, holding his foot in her hand. His arms are extended out at his sides, and he is holding his right foot out, supported by his right hand. He wears shorts and a loose button up shirt.

This next image is from the children's book Missing Nimâmâ by Melanie Florence. Note that the description refers to "the fry-bread dough", instead of being vague or general - this is because that information is given in the text. Therefore, it is best to include it. Another thing to note is the description of the Cree word "nôhkom" (it is written very faintly) - a glossary was provided at the start of the book, and since the book is for children, it is helpful to define the words that appear on the page.

[Missing Nimâmâ - 1]:

Alt text: Kateri is standing on a wooden chair in her grandmother's kitchen, and stirs the fry-bread dough with a wooden spoon. Her grandmother is holding a bag of flour, and watching Kateri stir. There is a carton of milk and a measuring cup on the counter. The Cree word for nôhkom, which means grandmother, appears near Kateri's head.


Graphs and charts can be particularly tricky to describe, as they can convey quite a bit of information. Do your best to describe the essential pieces of information to the reader, and ask someone else for help if you need it.

The following three graphs and charts are from the book Age of Discovery by Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna. Context: The book is a non-fiction work discussing the relevance of the renaissance to the modern age. It was written by scholars, but for a general audience. Therefore, the descriptions are detailed, but do not presume any prior knowledge other than what is offered in the text.

[Age of Discovery - 1]:

"Figure 1-2: Google searches for “globalization” have been declining for a decade."
Alt text: A line graph depicting the Relative Popularity of searches for the term globalization. The horizontal x-axis shows the years 2004 to 2015, and Relative Popularity appears on the vertical y-axis, ranging from 0-100. The line has many peaks and valleys, but trends steadily downwards, with high points trending down from 100 in 2004 to around 30 in 2015, and low points trending down from 40 in 2004 and 20 in 2015.

[Age of Discovery - 2]:
"Figure 2-8: In just 20 years, almost all humanity has been connected, by voice or data."
Alt text: A bar chart titled "Fixed Internet Users, Developed and Developing World". The vertical y-axis shows number of users in billions, numbered from 0-7; the horizontal x-axis shows years, from 1990-2015. No bars appear until 1994, then growth steadily increases until 2015. Users reach 1 billion around 2005, 2 billion around 2010, and 3.1 billion, or 40% of the world’s population, in 2015. From 1994 to 2006, the number of users in the developing world is less than the number of users in the developed world. From 2007-2009, the numbers are approximately equal. From 2010 to 2015, The number of users in the developed world is less than the number of users in the developing world.

[Age of Discovery - 3]:
"Figure 2-9: Data now flows thickly between all continents."
Alt text: Diagram titled "International Data Flows". It shows a map of the world with lines of varying thickness connecting continents, which are labeled by dots of varying size. A legend at the bottom of the diagram explains: Inter-regional data flows, measured in Gigabits per second (GBPS), are represented by the lines. The thinnest lines are used for data flows of less than 500 GBPS, while the thickest ones are for data flows of greater than 5000 GBPS. The circle sizes represent Local data flows in Terabits per second (TBPS); the largest circle represents 60 TBPS, while the smallest represents 5 TBPS. The thickest line appears between North America and Western Europe. The next thickest between North America and Japan; North America and China; Western Europe and Japan; Western Europe and China; and Western Europe and Middle East/Africa. The largest local data flows circles appear on North America, followed by Western Europe and China. Smaller circles appear on Latin America, Central/Eastern Europe, and Japan. The smallest appear on Other Asia, Australasia, and the Middle East/Africa.

This next graphs are from the book The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century by Walter Scheidel. It is a political science book that is quite academic in tone, which is to be expected as the book was published by a University press (Princeton).

[The Great Leveler - 1]:
Alt text: A line graph indicating a negative correlation between per capita GDP/wage and real wage, with the two meeting in the approximate year 1547 at approximately 0.5 real wage and 1.5 per capita GDP/wage. The late 1700's indicates a peak in per capita GDP/wage and the lowest point indicated in real wage.

[The Great Leveler - 2]
Alt text: The graph portrays the preimperial (~125-160 metres square), Roman imperial (~200-300 metres square), and postimperial (~60-80 metres square) roofed house size.


This first map is from American War by Omar El Akkad. It is a science-fiction/dystopian future novel about the second civil war in America.

Alt text: The top map depicts The United States, circa 2075. The map shows the South Carolina Quarantine Zone (in modern day Florida) directly to the east of the larger Free Southern State (where Atlanta is). West of this is the Battles of East Texas area. The Mexican Protectorate lines the south western area of the map (including modern day California). The border between Canada and the U.S. remains pretty much the same as modern day.
The bottom map depicts a closer view of the Free Southern State, circa 2075, taking up the south east corner of modern day U.S. The map depicts the Chestnut family Home directly to the east coast of the state. Within the state, the capital is Atlanta in the central northeast, Camp Patience lines the border in the north west of the state. The Halfway Branch Forward Operating Base lines the northeast border. Slightly southwest of Atlanta is the Albert Gaines' Cabin; directly southwest is Lake Sinclair. East of this is August Docks, and north of this is Charity House 027. In the northeast, the South Carolina Quarantine Zone lies, and on an island to the south of the state is the Sugarloaf Detention Facility.

This next map is from Minds of Winter by Ed O'Loughlin, a historical fiction novel about the polar exploration of Canada. A very detailed description is given because the exploration of this area is key to the story, so the reader may want to refer to this map as they read through the book.

Alt text: Map of Northern Canada and Greenland. A line marking the Arctic Circle spans the map from West to East, reaching from Alaska to Greenland. Another line marks the tree line. It extends in a Southeast direction, from Alaska to Western edge of Hudson Bay. Below the Arctic Circle Line, bodies of water on the mainland are marked From West to East, they are labeled: Great Bear Lake, Mackenzie River, Great Slave Lake, Lake Athabasca, Coppermine River, Great Fish River, Chesterfield Inlet, Wager Bay, Roes Welcome Sound, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Cumberland Sound, Frobisher Bay, and Ungava Bay. Foxe Basin and Davis Strait lay on the line of the Arctic Circle. Near the Alaska border, 4 cities are labeled: Tuktoyaktuk, Aklavik, Fort McPherson and Inuvik. North of the Arctic Circle and mainland Canada, there are various islands. From West to East, they are labeled: Banks, Prince Patrick, Melville, Victoria, Prince of Wales, Bathurst, King William, Cornwallis, Somerset, Axel Heiburg, Devon, Ellesmere, and Baffin. One island, Southampton, lies below the Arctic Circle. There are also various bodies of water North of the Arctic Circle. From West to East, they are labeled: Arctic Ocean, Beaufort Sea, McClure Strait, Coronation Gulf, Viscount Melville Sound, Queen Maud Gulf, McClintock Channel, Barrow Strait, Bellot Strait, Prince Regent Inlet, Pelly Bay, Gulf of Boothia, Jones Sound, Lancaster Sound, Lincoln Sea, Committee Bay, Smith Sound, Kane Basin, Roberson Channel, Melville Bay, and Baffin Bay. There are three labeled cities on the West coast of Greenland: Etah, Upernavik, and Godhavn, which is on Disko Island.

public/nnels/etext/alt_text_samples.txt · Last modified: 2018/08/16 22:06 (external edit)