Step-by-step guide to describing images for Alternative Text.
When describing an image for Alternative Text, you want to tell a reader in the fewest words, what is happening in the image. You have to be descriptive and precise, but not go into too much detail. The point is to give a “summed up” version of what is happening.
When creating alternate text, a good rule of thumb is to use 150 characters or less to describe an image. (A picture is worth 1000 words does not apply here)
Below are examples of good and bad attempts for alternative text.
A big lake surrounded by flowers with Mt. Fuji in the background. (Character Count: 65)
This example is appropriate for Alternative Text because it describes what is in the picture without giving too many lengthy details.
An image of a big mountain and flowers and lake. (Character Count: 49)
This example is inappropriate for Alternative Text because it fails to help readers visualize the image. You have to explain where the mountain is in the photo. What is the mountain called? Is it in the foreground or background? Where is the lake? Is it behind the mountain? Creating proper context and descriptions can help a student understand what is in an image.
A young boy doing math homework on a hard wooden table. (Characters: 55)