Let us begin with the bottom line: Alt Text generators are not sufficient for achieving web accessibility and compliance requirements.
Indeed, they are very useful and can improve web accessibility. Heck, we offer our own Alt Text generator as one of the automatic AI functions of its widget (more on that anon). But, and this is a significant but, these convenient generators have serious limitations and can only be considered as part of your broader accessibility strategy.
So let us take a step back and explain the necessities of Alt Text and why it is so important.
The importance of Alt Text
Alt Text helps individuals with various disabilities to perceive digital content in the format of images and other non-text elements, thus removing the barriers of their disability. The benefits of this are obvious, permitting these individuals to engage with the content of your website while also expanding your pool of users and potential customers.
The legal aspect of Alt Text, however, is substantial. Missing Alt Text on websites is one of the chief causes of ADA and other non-discriminatory legal claims filed against businesses, organizations, and agencies in countries that enforce web accessibility laws.
Many if not most web accessibility requirements can be fixed and maintained via automatic remediation solutions, but Alt Text is not one of them. Although you may use AI features to fill in the descriptive text of images, AI technology is incapable yet to fully adhering to the Alt Text guiding principles. In other words, the human eye is necessary to provide sufficient alternative text.
For this reason, it is important to at least manually review the AI-added text, if not add all descriptions yourself. It is further important to note that most websites add images across time, and forgetting the Alt Text descriptions for each image is only natural, even, inevitable. We’re just human after all, right?
EqualWeb’s Image Description function
The Image Description function displays image descriptions in floating windows over images when the mouse cursor floats over them. It also adds descriptions to all images, even without Alt Text. For this function, the EqualWeb technology utilizes Google’s Optical Character Recognition to identify images without ALT tags and automatically inserts descriptions for the visually impaired. An upgrade to EqualWeb’s ADA Managed Compliance solution ensures the perfect descriptions are manually selected by our accessibility experts, rather than relying on the occasionally inaccurate machine-generated descriptions of Google.
The EqualWeb Alt Text solution
Okay, so if the Image Description and other Alt Text generators are not enough to maintain web accessibility, what then is the solution?
Acquaint yourself with the Alt Text Editor, a unique solution developed by EqualWeb to ensure you never miss an image or other non-textual element lacking descriptive text.
The Alt Text editor function is placed in your EqualWeb dashboard. To fix any Alt Text issues—and maintain Alt Text compliance—simply go to your editor, enter the URL of your website, and scan for any images and/or non-text elements for missing Alt Text. You will be able to manually add descriptions in case you find images without Alt Text.
Here’s how it works:
- Enter your EqualWeb dashboard and select the Monitor tab
- Click on the Alt Text editor underneath the Monitor tab
- Enter the website you wish to scan for Alt Text issues
- The screen will present a list of all images that exist on the website and indicate whether they have descriptive text or not
- Write the description in the empty box for images or other elements that lack Alt Text
- Click on the save icon on the box’s right
- You’re done! Simple and intuitive to use
The best part—it’s FREE
The Alt Text Editor is a free service that EqualWeb provides for its customers. Just join any one of our plans and you will be able to use the Editor at no extra charge.
Are you interested in meeting web accessibility standards according to the latest ADA requirements and WCAG 2.1 guidelines?