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We have an input field where the user can choose an image to upload, and if they select an image, they must provide a alternate text for the image so blind users can understand what the image is about.

What is the best way to describe the alt text field for a user who doesn't know what accessibility is and what the alt attribute is for?

I'm thinking of something on the lines of "please provide an alternative text for this image so that users with visual impairment can understand what the image is".

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Some thoughts -

  • How about having an input field show up once the user uploads the picture and the thumbnail loads? The input field can have the label, "Image Description. Without having to understand much about accessibility explicitly, users will tend to fill this in more easily compared to explaining what alt is about.
  • You can have a tooltip for this Image Description field, which explains the accessibility aspect in case someone is curious about the need of it.
  • I remember having seen similar interactions where image descriptions are asked on image uploads (e.g. CMS platforms like WordPress)
  • There are some cool ways to auto-populate Alt text for images out there today. In case you wanted to explore some of that, do google about it.

Hope that helps!

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  • Hi Amit, thanks for replying. This is what it looks like currently. The input label says "Alternate description".
    – Phiter
    Dec 31, 2019 at 12:54
  • What if it said, "Describe this image", and then have a little more information in a signpost or something when they click on the question mark/help icon (also, this icon should be an Info icon in my opinion). I'd look at the auto-populate options too. Auto-populate the alt text, then just have the user check whether it is accurate Dec 31, 2019 at 15:53
  • What about showing it while the image uploads, if that's possible, to increase efficiency? Jan 3, 2020 at 21:18
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It is clear, but it seems a too long. People are lazy, so they will only scan that label, and then there is a chance that they won't understand. They will then have to read it with attention, that will annoy your users a lite. Maybe: "Provide description for visually impaired users." The correct placement and designing proper user interaction is a key to make your users sure that the instruction is about the image they just uploaded. My idea is that it should be close to the image preview and shown after the image preview is loaded. Remember about the change blindness, set a small break (like 0.1s) between image preview and the instruction.

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