Browse Definitions:
Definition

alt text (alternative text)

Contributor(s): Stan Gibilisco

Alt text (alternative text) is a word or phrase that can be inserted as an attribute in an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) document to tell Web site viewers the nature or contents of an image. The alt text appears in a blank box that would normally contain the image. Alt text is useful when an image link is not available because of a broken or changed URL or some other issue.

An alt attribute starts out with the character sequence alt= and then contains the alt text within quotation marks. For example, the attribute alt="Storm Surge" might appear in the HTML image tag for a photograph of high water during a hurricane. In most browsers, hovering the pointer over an image containing an alt attribute will cause the alt text to appear within a small box beneath the pointer.

When choosing alt text, it's important to ensure that it tells viewers as much as possible about the image, using as few words as possible. This consideration becomes increasingly important as images get physically smaller. If the alt text is too long, it might take up too much space to fit inside the image rectangle (which is the same size as the image would be if it were visible). With bullet links that have external text labels, for example, alt text would only cause clutter. In cases of that sort, the alt text can comprise a single space between the quotes (alt=" ") or the two quotes can be placed right up against each other (alt="").

Alt attributes should always go inside image tags, even if no alt boxes are wanted. If the Web page author does not want an alt box to appear in conjunction with an image, a blank alt attribute should be inserted in the image tag to ensure that a default character sequence showing the image's Web address will not appear when the viewer hovers the pointer over the image.

Alt text is a good place to place relevant keywords to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). As with text elsewhere, however, keyword stuffing -- the practice of inserting a large number of keywords into Web content -- is discouraged. According to Google, the practice is not only unethical but also ineffective.

This was last updated in October 2012

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

thank you
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

  • conduct risk

    Conduct risk is the prospect of financial loss to an organization that is caused by the actions of an organization's ...

SearchSecurity

  • security

    Security, in information technology (IT), is the defense of digital information and IT assets against internal and external, ...

  • insider threat

    An insider threat is a malicious hacker (also called a cracker or a black hat) who is an employee or officer of a business, ...

  • virus (computer virus)

    A computer virus is malicious code that replicates by copying itself to another program, computer boot sector or document.

SearchHealthIT

  • HIPAA Privacy Rule

    The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, commonly known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, establishes ...

  • HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA)

    Under the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA) is a ...

  • telemedicine

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • data recovery

    Data recovery restores data that has been lost, accidentally deleted, corrupted or made inaccessible. Learn how data recovery ...

  • disaster recovery plan (DRP)

    A company's disaster recovery policy is enhanced with a documented DR plan that formulates strategies, and outlines preparation ...

  • fault-tolerant

    Systems with integrated fault tolerance are designed to withstand multiple hardware failures to ensure continuous availability.

SearchStorage

  • Secure Digital card (SD card)

    SD cards use flash memory to provide nonvolatile storage. They are more rugged than traditional storage media and are used in ...

  • data storage

    In a computer, storage is the place where data is held in an electromagnetic or optical form for access by a computer processor.

  • flash storage

    Flash-based storage, based on flash memory, is used for data repositories, storage systems and consumer devices, such as USB ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • flash file system

    Flash file systems are designed specifically for memory devices. A well-designed flash device and flash file system ensure ...

  • IOPS (input/output operations per second)

    IOPS measures the maximum number of reads and writes to non-contiguous storage. It is not an actual benchmark since vendor ...

  • eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard)

    An embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) is a small storage device made up of NAND flash memory and a simple storage controller.

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close