Accessible images and your social media posts

Find out how you can make your social media images accessible to ALL your followers.

When creating a social media post, you can help users with vision impairments by writing text alternatives for images. The purpose of alternative text is to help users to understand the images that they can’t see. It should convey the same information as the image, not describe it.

Images and ALT (alternative) text

If you can ‘explain’ the image succinctly, use a short text alternative. Screen readers detect ALT text, tell the user there is an image on the page, and read out the ALT text content to convey its meaning.

When you upload an image to Facebook or Instagram, you can add your ‘alternative text’. If you don’t write ALT text, Facebook and Instagram generate it automatically for you using object recognition technology. The results can be mixed – we recommend you check the ALT text generated for your image to make sure it conveys the meaning you intended when you chose the image. Find out how to check generated ALT text:

Longer image descriptions

If your image needs more words to convey its meaning, what options are available to you on social media? Twitter users can add image descriptions of up to 1000 characters when they compose a Tweet.

Some Instagram and Facebook users are including images descriptions in their posts. They follow their comment or message with “Image:” or “Image ID:”, and then describe the meaning of the image. Not sure how? When writing your description, think about the role of the image in the context of the post - an image can have a different meaning depending on the context in which it appears.

Find out more in our articles:

Find out more about content accessibility and best practice

In our Writing for the Web webinars we teach you how to make images on your web pages ‘visible’. These techniques help people who can’t see images to understand their meaning. If you want to learn more about making your online content more accessible Register for our Writing for the Web online course