Image descriptions are short descriptions that describe the images you are posting whether it be for Instagram, Facebook, blogs, etc.
These descriptions should take into consideration what the main focus of the image is, the background, what else in the foreground that needs mentioning, text, colours, and any shapes or blocks of colour worth mentioning.
Image descriptions provide much needed information for people with vision impairments, so they are aware of what is in the image. If someone with vision impairments uses a screen-reader, then the reader will read the text of the image description to the user.
Without providing an image description for all images that you share; you risk alienating groups of people from your content.
How to write an image description
- Start with the background; describe what is in the background, the colours, any shapes.
- Move to the foreground. What is the focus? What is the person wearing? Are they smiling? Do they have brown hair?
- Then start describing text from the top of the image to the bottom.
Using the featured image on this news item as an example for our image description, you could write the description as follows.
[Image: Light purple background with a dark purple shadow, the photo has a black border, the LEAD logo is in the left-hand corner and text says ‘LEAD Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), the photo is of a young woman with disability, she has long brown hair, wearing a blue and purple shiny top and is smiling.]
- Use image descriptions for all images you use in all online spaces, including social media.
- Start using the alt text function in the backend of your website, Word documents, etc.
- If you are collaborating with other organisations or companies and sending them material to promote for you, put the image descriptions together for them. They are more likely to publish your promotional material if it doesn’t add to their workload.