What is an ALT attribute?

Learn what an ALT attribute is, what functions it performs, and get tips on how to use it correctly in web design and for search engine optimization.

What is an ALT attribute?

The ALT attribute is an HTML attribute used in IMG tags to specify alternate text for an image. The alternate text is displayed if the image cannot be loaded for some reason or is read aloud by screen readers to help visually impaired users understand the content and context of an image.

Function of the ALT attribute

The ALT attribute serves several important functions:

  • Accessibility: By providing alternate text, the ALT attribute supports accessibility by enabling users of screen readers and other assistive technologies to understand the purpose and context of an image.
  • Fallback in case of loading errors: If an image cannot be loaded for some reason (e.g. because of an incorrect file path), the alternative text is displayed to still provide users with a description of the image content.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Search engines use the alternate text to better understand the content and context of the image on a web page and position search results accordingly. An optimized ALT attribute can help improve the visibility of a web page in search results.

Tips for using ALT attributes

Here are some tips for using ALT attributes in IMG tags:

  1. Describe the picture: Use short, concise text that accurately describes the content and context of the image. Try to include relevant keywords without making the text look unnatural.
  2. Avoid redundancies: Do not use redundant information in the ALT attribute, especially if the text content of the image is also present in the surrounding text.
  3. Avoid unnecessary details: Do not add unnecessary information to the ALT attribute that is not relevant to understanding the image or surrounding text.
  4. Use appropriate length: The length of the alternative text should not be too long. As a rule, less than 125 characters should be sufficient to adequately describe the image.

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