Alternative Text (Alt-text)

  • Alt-text is important — and required — for images on the Bowdoin College website.
  • Alt-text is read by screen readers in place of an image. This provides context or action of images to those with visual or other disabilities.
  • Alt text shows in place of an image in browsers if the image file does not load fast enough.
  • Alt-text can help search engines identify content on web pages.

The alt-text field can be found in editing mode anytime you are adding an image to a page in Cascade 8.

Screenshot of the required alt-text field for images uploaded to Cascade 8.
Alt-text is required in Cascade 8 when adding images to a page.

Writing Great Alt-text

  • No need to use "image of" or "photo of" in the alt-text; a screen reader already announces, "image."
  • Be succinct but descriptive; try limiting to 125 characters or fewer. Describe the image: what is going on in the picture? Be specific about who or what is in it.
  • Watch for repetition. Is there a caption on the image already that clearly describes what the image is? Captions and alt-text should not be the same.
  • Try not to use images that have text on them. If you do, write the text out in the alt-text. A screen reader cannot read text on an image.
  • Does the image have a function (e.g., links to a page, form, or news article)? If so, the alt text should say where the link goes (e.g., "link to Student Aid website).
Not so great alt-text: two students and a professor.

Great alt-text: Earth and Oceanographic Science
majors dating rock metamorphosis in an investigating
earth class.

The cast of the theater production Cole takes a bow.
Not so great alt-text: Fall Theater and Dance performance.

Great alt-text: The cast of the Theater and Dance performance of
Cole takes a bow at the end of the show on stage.



Article ID: 89826
Mon 10/21/19 1:02 PM
Tue 3/3/20 10:47 AM