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Re: Alternate text for images having caption adjacent


From: Chagnon | PubCom
Date: May 30, 2014 7:44PM

Where are the editors when we need them?!

Jared wrote: "As another example, imagine a photo of a woman wearing a
headset in the sidebar of a homepage. The image is linked to the customer
service area of the site. ... Instead, alt="Customer Service" or similar
would be better and most efficient."

Agree, but let's also make sure our writing of Alt-text is grammatically
correct and uses clear, plain language. "Customer Service" is an intangible
action, not the human being portrayed in the photo. I'd argue that a better,
grammatically correct Alt-Text would be: "Customer service representative."

However, if the words "Customer Service" were embedded in the graphic or as
live text next to it, then the graphic itself becomes less relevant and can
be nulled or changed to "Customer Service."

But the best language to use in this example is "Contact Customer Service"
because it contains an action verb which clearly, simply presents the action
the website builder is encouraging the user to do -- in other words, the

"... much-more-important *content* and *function* of the image - that
clicking it takes you to the customer support page..."
Yes, that too. Today, that graphic is also likely to connect you to a chat
session with a customer service rep. So we better make sure our links and
alt-text states precisely when the user will be connected to a chat session
versus going to a different webpage.

What we need are professional editors who specialize in writing Alt-Text
that clearly describes the intent of the graphic, as well as making sure
that hyperlinks are clearly written and specify the destination if it's

There are few of these editors around, but I'm working on it! Have a class
running in July just for writers and editors, and a big portion of the class
is how to write Alt-text. This is a great discussion for the class!

--Bevi Chagnon
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