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Reading systems and screenreaders can usually convert text to speech, but they cannot convert images to text. We use alt text ("alternative text") to replace the image for screenreaders.
A screenreader will stop on the image and read the Alt-text that you have written. This Alt-text is not visual, but is embedded in the code of the ebook. Part of your job is to write these descriptions. The content of the Alt-text depends on the type/purpose of the image.
The following is a video demo of how a screenreader reads an image description:
The term image description is an umbrella term referring to the concept of offering descriptions of images in text form. An image description conveys the same or equivalent information that a sighted reader would get when they look at a picture to someone with a print disability such as those who are blind or visually impaired. Image descriptions can be included in digital content in two forms:
Remember, you are replacing visual information with text, not just describing an image. It is very important you follow these guidelines so your descriptions are clear to the reader and do not cause any confusion or cognitive issues.
There are no hard rules on how long Alt-text should be, but they usually around 2-6 sentences long. This is to help avoid cognitive overload. Cognitive overload can also happen if the description is not direct or concise. The description should walk the reader through the image and be very clear and direct. This can be a bit of an artform, so don’t stress out if you feel overwhelmed. This documentation is designed to help you learn how to write Alt-text and Long Descriptions.
Part of your job is to produce accessible versions of the titles you are assigned. Alt-text is an essential part of accessibility. You should be able to write Alt-text with little to no edits and feedback after 3 months of work.
It can take longer to learn how to write image descriptions than the other parts of reformatting an ebook, and we are here to help and support you on this journey. Even after you have gotten a handle on how to describe images, there will always be times when you struggle and need assistance. Go to Job Outline and Expectations for more information.
Remove all decorative images including:
If unsure, ask in the Q and A section.
Ensure that the image (and caption if present) is set to
inline with text so that the text does not flow around the image and between paragraphs (i.e. not breaking up the middle of a sentence or paragraph).
To set the wrapping style as
in-line with text:
In Line with Text
Software can only detect and properly read the Alt-text associated with an image when it is placed
In Line with Text.
For large images, resize them so they fit on the page with their caption and surrounding text. See How to Resize Images in Word for how to do this.
Below are directions on how to insert captions and Alt-text using Microsoft Word.
How to Write Alt-textsection further down the page.
If a caption exists in the original ebook, then you must insert it for the corresponding image in the Word doc file. See Captions for instructions.
To add Alt-text to an image:
descriptionfield (leave the title field blank)
The following documentation will walk you through how to describe different types of images you will come across. The documentation is broken down as follows: