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.

Please create a username to comment.

thank you
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • compliance framework

    A compliance framework is a structured set of guidelines that details an organization's processes for maintaining accordance with...

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • privacy compliance

    Privacy compliance is a company's accordance with established personal information protection guidelines, specifications or ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

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

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • disaster recovery (DR) test

    A disaster recovery test (DR test) is the examination of each step in a disaster recovery plan as outlined in an organization's ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • disaster recovery (DR)

    Disaster recovery (DR) is an area of security planning that aims to protect an organization from the effects of significant ...

SearchStorage

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science ...

  • megabytes per second (MBps)

    Megabytes per second (MBps) is a unit of measurement for data transfer speed to and from a computer storage device.

  • zettabyte

    A zettabyte is a unit of measurement used by technology professionals and the general public to describe a computer or other ...

Close