Read time: 4 minutes
One of the great things about the internet nowadays is the high-quality photos people take and distribute.
From websites like ours to professional social media accounts, you can find beautifully captured photos wherever you go online, and it’s become easier to take these photos too.
With tech like the iPhone readily available for most consumers, all people need to do is pull out their phones.
(And maybe set it to portrait mode. Depending on the photo.)
But, the internet isn’t just limited to the photos people take. It’s also a space where some of today’s most brilliant graphic designers hone and showcase their skills. In fact, people now take college courses just to create beautiful graphic designs, and there’s a lot more than a simple “copy and paste” that goes into it.
And with tools like Canva, Photoshop, and Adobe available, the entry into quality graphic design has never been easier.
But like the written content we discussed earlier, there’s an opportunity to make these photos and graphic designs more accessible.
No, you won’t have to change how you take photos or create graphics. Only our graphic designer, Bud Northern, has the ability to talk about that. But there are ways to make your beautiful creations more accessible for everyone to enjoy.
It just takes a little more elbow grease.
Alt Text, Alt Text, Alt Text
When it comes to creating an accessible photo or image, alt text may be one of the most important things you can do.
Alt text is commonly used by individuals who have a disability with their sight and rely on screen readers to navigate the internet. Properly written alt text will provide individuals with all the information they need to understand the image and how it contributes to the overall point of the page they are on.
Similar to writing meta descriptions for SEO, writing alt text takes a little bit of practice to perfect, as good alt text only requires 125 characters at most (although you can go below that). Even the best writers struggle with alt text from time to time, and it's a skill you should always be practicing.
One thing to note is that not all images require alt text. If an image displayed is purely decorative and offers no additional context to the message or point you’re trying to make, then you can leave the alt text field blank.
- Success Criterion: 1.1.1 Non-text Content, Level A
Avoid using images when the same information could be communicated in writing
When writing, sometimes it’s easier to have an image convey your message instead of writing it out. Although we understand that thought (describing an image can be hard), it isn’t something we particularly recommend.
When using images to convey a point, the image should be supplementary to the text you’ve provided. This is especially true if you use text images to get your point across.
Instead of using an image, try writing out the text shown on the image and stylizing it instead (increase the font, utilize bold or italics, etc.).
This helps provide the “flair” you’re looking for while making your content easier to understand.
The only time text images should be used is if that text is essential to the information being provided, like a logo.
Use images to supplement your point, not to be your point.
- Success Criterion: 1.4.5 Images of Text, Level AA
Provide Proper Controls For Galleries and Slideshows
Have you ever found yourself on a website that utilizes an auto-moving gallery or carousel? If so, we wouldn’t be surprised if you noticed how frustrating the experience is.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise when you hear that those auto-moving galleries, slideshows, and carousels negatively affect accessibility. When it comes to displaying photos using this medium, it’s important that you’re providing users with an option to pause and control when to scroll.
But if you do have to use any of these mediums, give users the option to control how long they can look at a piece of content and if they want to go back or continue on.
- Success Criteria
When it comes to photos, making them accessible isn’t a hard task, and we hope these tips help you create beautiful, inclusive visual content.
If you have any questions about creating accessible visual content, you’re free to reach out to us at [email protected].
We’re always eager to talk about web accessibility and creating content that’s beautiful and inclusive.