It’s a Tough Job But Someone Has To Do It (Spoiler: It’s You)

I’ve been anxious to get the latest installment in my series on better web accessibility through content management published. It’s taken some time becasue it’s one of the more step-filled tasks in the series so there’s a good bit to cover.

Having said that, it’s also one of the most important tasks: assigning image alt text. In a nutshell, image alt text is what allows site visitors with visual impairments to understand how images are used and when they are important to their browsing experience.

Adding images without using appropriate alternative attributes (alt tags), can be extremely frustrating for people with visual impairments using assistive technologies, such as screen readers. Alt text descriptions add valuable information for those screen readers.

This article walks through the five steps in the w3.org decision tree that you can use to help determine exactly which actions you should take and if images even need alt text at all (some don’t!).

Image Alt Text And Accessibility

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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