How detailed should image alt text be?


We’re writing image descriptions for product pages, and there are a lot of image details we could potentially include in the alternative text. How much detail is really required?


The right level of detail in an image’s alternative text, or alt text, varies depending on the image’s purpose and context.


  • Why has the image been included?
  • If I removed this image, what information would be lost?

It is helpful to consider what users can learn from the image. For example, a product photo of children playing with a kitten jigsaw puzzle may not only convey the puzzle’s design, but also that the puzzle is a certain size, has large pieces that are easy to grasp, and is intended for kids.

Note that the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) advise that alt text should be brief. If your users would benefit from a significant amount of detail, another option is to provide the information as visible text on the page. The image can then either be coded as decorative, or it can include brief alt text that directs users to more information. For example, “Kitten jigsaw puzzle, full description in product details.”

To learn more about creating accessible content, explore the Accessibility for Content Creators course bundle from Accessible Web Academy.

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