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.
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. See Step 8 of the alt text instructions, and Long and Complex Descriptions on this page for samples.
For more general information about adding Producer's Notes, see: Producer's Note.
For working with Children's Picture books go here for instructions
These examples are of shorter descriptions that can go in the Alt-text description box.
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 two 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.
These 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 following are examples of long or complex descriptions. All these descriptions go in the Complex Image Descriptions section.
Most often these are Maps, Graphs, Charts, and Trees. See Maps and Graphs for more information.
The following four examples and graphs and charts tracking information from COVID-19. These descriptions were developed by our testers with print disability and are the latest example of accessible long descriptions.
"Image: Flattening the Curve from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/6665558/coronavirus-flatten-the-curve/"
Alt-Text: A graph showing one line, running horizontally through the middle which represents the Health Care System Capacity, and two curves, one representing the cases without protective measures, and the other, representing Cases with protective measures, (the flattened curve). The Y-axis is labelled as "Daily number of cases and the "X-axis, is labeled as "Time since outbreak". There are no numbers on either axis
Complex Description: A graph showing one line, running horizontally through the middle which represents the Health Care System Capacity, and two curves, one representing the cases without protective measures, and the other, representing Cases with protective measures, (the flattened curve). The Y-axis is labelled as "Daily number of cases and the "X-axis, is labeled as "Time since outbreak". There are no numbers on either axis.
The curve representing "Cases without protective measures" starts at the bottom left corner and steeply rises past the "Capacity of the healthcare" line to a sharp curve at the top of the graph where it then steeply drops back down to the bottom. This line is symmetrical and is in the shape of a triangle with a rounded peak. Note that as this curve descends to the right side, it intersects with the "Capacity of the healthcare" line and the line representing "Cases with protective measures" just before the curve begins to flatten. The line representing "cases with protective measures" starts at the bottom left corner, gradually increases at first, before rising slightly more steeply, where it stays just below the "capacity of the healthcare line", and flattens out, before it gradually goes back down to the bottom. This curve is shaped like a small hill or an arch that rises and falls gradually and equally on both sides.
"Image: COVID-19 cases in Canada by date of illness onset (May 6, 2020). Retrieved from https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/epidemiological-summary-covid-19-cases.html#a2"
Alt Text: A bar graph with vertical bars depicting the COVID-19 cases in Canada by date of illness onset.
Complex Description: A bar graph with vertical bars depicting the COVID-19 cases in Canada by date of illness onset. The X-axis is labelled as "Date of Illness onset" (from January 15, 2020 to May 5, 2020) and the Y-axis is labeled as "Number of Reported Cases" which range from 0 to 1000, in increments of 100. The shape of the bar graph starts out flat with a few very short bars at first (from January 15 to the end of February), then gradually increases in height. The bars steeply increase (with occasional drops between days), then decrease, then increasing and decrease again (in a general "m" shape). The graph’s background is partially shaded from April 19 until May 5, where the graph ends. This indicates a period of lag time where, according to the Government of Canada, cases may have occurred but have not yet been reported nationally. April 13th shows the highest number of cases - just over 1000. Visually, the dates on the X-axis are shown for every three days, but there are bars for each day.
"Image: Age distribution of COVID-19 cases in Canada as of May 6, 2020, 11 am EDT. Retrieved from https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/epidemiological-summary-covid-19-cases.html#a3"
Alt text: A bar graph with horizontal bars depicting the Age distribution of COVID-19 cases. The Y-axis is labelled as "Age group (years)" and the X-axis is labeled as "Number of cases with case reports" Which range from 0 to 5,500 in increments of 500.
Complex Description: A bar graph with horizontal bars depicting the Age distribution of COVID-19 cases. The Y-axis is labelled as "Age group (years)" and the X-axis is labeled as "Number of cases with case reports" Which range from 0 to 5,500 in increments of 500. At the end of each bar, is the "Number of cases with case reports" shown as a percentage. The group with the least number of case reports is those who are under 19 (5.31%). The bars increase steadily through ages 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; and 50-59 which peaks at 16.40%. The bars decrease through ages 60-69 and 70-79 (dropping to 8.07%), before sharply rising in the 80+ age group, to 15.92%.
Alt text: An interactive line chart depicting the rate of spread of COVID-19 cases by day per location.
Complex Description: An interactive line chart depicting the rate of spread of COVID-19 cases by day per location. To show where British Columbia is on the curve, additional curves are drawn to help readers compare other districts. The X-axis is labelled as "Days", beginning with "Day 1" and ending at "Day 15." The Y-axis is labelled as "Total COVID-19 cases announced by different jurisdiction with Day 1 marked by the first time it had more than 100 positives." The values on the Y-axis go up exponentially and starts at "100" for day 1. The remaining values on the Y-axis are "1000" and "10,000." There are twenty faint lines extending across the chart, horizontally, equally spaced, with the first and the eleventh lines coming from where "100" and "1000" are labelled. These lines are to help readers identify values by looking at where the curves intersect.
Visually, the days on the X-axis are shown for only the odd days but the values for the number of cases are available for each day. They are hidden until the user interacts with the chart. When you hover over a dot on the graph, it will tell you the day number, the place, and the number of cases.
Each place is represented by a dotted line. Every line begins at the bottom left corner of the graph and then rises to the upper right side. Specific trends along with certain values are written out in this description and provided as a table. However, since no data was provided, we only share the values that can be seen in the chart.
British Columbia begins with a steep line which rises to day 3 with 231 cases. From Day 3, the slope of the line increases slightly with a shallow curve to day 6 with 424 cases. From day 6, the curve steadily rises with a few jags to day 9 with 617 cases. From day 9, the line continues to slope gently upwards, almost plateauing and with a few small spikes, all the way to Day 15 with 970 cases.
Alberta starts with a steep incline to day 4 with 207 cases. from day 4 the line continues with a very slight slope upwards to day 10 with 486 cases. From day 10, it flattens out but still has a very slight upwards curve to day 13 which has 661 cases
Ontario Starts out with a very steep line to day 3 with 177 cases. From day 3, the line continues to rise with less of a steep incline to day 10 with 503 cases. From day 10, the line continues with a wide curve upwards all the way to day 15 with 1144 cases.
Washington State begins with a steep line with a slight curve to day 6 with 457 cases. From day 6 the line continues with a gentle curve upwards to day 14 which has 1500 cases. From day 14 to day 15, there is a slight spike which ends with 1800 cases.
United Kingdom starts out with a steep curve to day 6 with 459 cases. The line flattens out at day 7 also with 459 cases. From day 7 to day 12 which has 2600 cases, the line continues to rise with few very minor jags. From day 12, the line continues upwards with a very slight slope to day 13 with 2700 cases. From day 13, it becomes an incredibly steep curve to day 15 with 5100 cases.
Switzerland starts out with a steep curve to day 4 with 337 cases. From day 4 to day 5 which has 374 cases, it continues with a shallow curve. From day 5 the line changes to a steep curve to day 7 with 652 cases. The line flattens out since days 7 and 8 have the same number of cases. From day 8 the line curves up drastically with a few minor bumps to day 11 with 2200 cases. The line plateaus at day 12 with 2200 cases as well. From day 12 it continues as a steep curve with a few bumps to day 15 with 4100 cases.
France begins with a slight curve to day 4 with 204 cases. From day 4 it becomes a very steep curve with a few bumps along the way to day 15 with 6700 cases.
Italy has the highest starting point from day 1 with 155 cases. From day 1 to day 15, the line steeply rises, going straight up with a few bumps along the way ending with a cumulative number of 7400 cases.
Spain begins with an incredibly steep curve with slight bumps, to day 10 with 2300 cases. From day 10 to day 11 with 5200 cases, the line continues as a straight line that is nearly pointing straight up with a slight bend. From day 11, it becomes a steep upwards curve to day 15 with 11700 cases. The curve is not as drastically steep compared to Days 10 and 11.
At the bottom of the chart is a caption which reads: “Information via CBC News and Johns Hopkins University. Figures after 1,000 rounded to the nearest hundred. Chart: Justin McElroy"
The following graph is 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.
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.
Complex Description: 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 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.
Complex Description: 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 showing West coast of Greenland, Ellesmere Island, Devon Island, and Baffin Island. Two routes are shown. One is labelled "Hall 1871" and "Route of Polaris" and head north along the coast of Greenland. The second route is labeled "200-day drift of party on the ice floe", and heads south from Ellesmere Island.
Complex Description: Map showing West coast of Greenland, Ellesmere Island, Devon Island, and Baffin Island. Two routes are shown. One is labelled "Hall 1871" and "Route of Polaris". This route heads north along the coast of Greenland, and shows stops at Godhavn and Upernavik. It continues North through Kane Basin, and passes Joe Island. Just north of Joe island, the route ends, and there is a note: "Hall's death, Nov. 1871". The second route is labeled "200-day drift of party on the ice floe", and heads south from Ellesmere Island. At the start there is a note: "Party abandons ship, October 12, 1872". The route passes Devon and Baffin Island, and ends at the Northern tip of Labrador, where there is another note: "Rescued, April 30, 1873".
The next example is from the book More Abandoned Manitoba: Rivers, Rails and Ruins by Gordon Goldsborough. This map has a clear title and legend. Start with the title and describe the legend, then describe the key parts to the map to help convey its meaning to the reader.
Alt-Text: Map showing vehicle ownership in Southern Manitoba. The title of the map reads: Number of Cars Registered in 1912.
Complex Description: Map depicting vehicle ownership in Southern Manitoba. The title of the map reads: Number of Cars Registered in 1912. There is a legend that shows red circles of increasing size with a white car icon in the center of the circle. Each circle represents a number of cars. The smallest circle is 1-5, then next size up is 6-10, then 11-25, then 26-100, then 101-1000 then 1001-2025.
The map shows Manitoba with all the major cities and towns labelled with a variety of different sized red circles, mainly over the southern part of the province. The main areas are highlighted as follows: Winnipeg, represented by the circle for 1001-2025 cars, and Brandon, represented by the circle for 101-1000 cars, have the largest circles. Dauphin, Virden, Neepawa, Carberry, Portage La Prairie are represented by the circle for 26-100 cars. Russell, Minnedosa, Gladstone, Souris, Deloraine, Boissevain, Crystal City, Morden, and Winkler are represented by the circle for 6-10 cars.
Other types of images include: blueprints, letters, development plans, etc.
The next example is from the book More Abandoned Manitoba: Rivers, Rails and Ruins by Gordon Goldsborough.
Alt Text: The plan is titled: Suggested Plan of School Grounds Showing Snow-Trap, Shelter Belt and Ornamental Trees. Area is 4.2 acres with snow-trap and 3.0 acres without. The School area is framed to the right and bottom sides with a road allowance measured at 66’.
Complex Description: The plan is titled: Suggested Plan of School Grounds Showing Snow-Trap, Shelter Belt and Ornamental Trees. Area is 4.2 acres with snow-trap and 3.0 acres without. The School area is framed to the right and bottom sides with a road allowance measured at 66’.
The School Area includes play areas and graveled roads. It is surrounded by a shelter belt. TO the left the Shelter belt is suggested as being six rows of tress 4 feet apart, with the same for the top section. The right section frames the row with a suggestion of a single row of trees eight feet apart. The snow trap is just beyond the left and top proposed shelter belt with the same suggested width as the road at 66’. This is then framed again with a Wind Break of trees that are suggested at 2 rows of tress at four rows apart.