What Should I Know About Alt Text?

article title hands on open laptop keyboard

Last week we sent out an email announcement to share the latest updates to ThinkReservations, bringing us in conformance with accessibility guidelines. Today, we'd like to share a little more information to ensure you're using alt text effectively!

What is alt text and why should I use it?

Alt text (alternative text) is used to describe an image on a webpage. Screen reader software applications then read the text aloud allowing people who unable to see images on their own to experience the webpage similarly to a person with normal vision.

Can you share an example of effective alt text?

Yes! It's important that your alt text allows your potential guests using screen readers to receive the same experience as those that can see the images. Think of alt text as a way to describe the details - not just a broad overview. Some quick tips:

  1. Alt text should be 125 characters or less to avoid being cut off by screen readers.
  2. Don't use alt text as a way to simply add a list of keywords. The goal is to communicate the details of the image.
  3. It is not necessary to include "image of" or "picture of" in your alt text.

Let's look at some alt text examples for this image of berries.

fresh blueberries raspberries and blackberries on white plate

Example 1: "Berries"

Sure, this is an image of berries, but there is more going on here. This is a poor use of alt text.

Example 2: "Fresh blueberries raspberries and blackberries on a white plate."

If you were to read this text without an image you would likely picture something similar to the photo shown here. We're also under the 125-character limit, so we don't need to worry that our description will be cut off. This is a much better use of alt text!

How do I add alt text to my images in ThinkReservations?

There are four places within your ThinkReservations account where you likely have images visible in the booking engine. You can now add alt text to these images to ensure screen readers can share the details with your potential guests. These images include your main business image, your room photos, your item photos, and your package photos. Below are the steps for accessing the settings for each:

  1. Go to Settings -> Booking Engine. Add alt text for your business image and click Save.
  2. Go to Settings -> Rooms. Click into your first room and scroll to the bottom of the page. Add alt text for each room image and click Save. Repeat for each room.
  3. Go to Settings -> Items. For each item that is upsellable through the booking engine, click on the Photo link to the right. Add alt text and click Save.
  4. Go to Settings -> Packages. For each package that is upsellable through the booking engine, click on the Photo link to the right. Add alt text and click Save. 

We look forward to helping you discover new ways to grow your business!

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