What is Alternative (Alt) text?

Alternative text, or “alt text” describes the content of images, graphs and charts in words.

It should be added to every image that conveys meaning in instructional and communications materials including websites, word processing documents, and slide presentations.

Why is it important?

There are two groups of people you need to consider when using or creating images in digital content: those who can see them and those who can't. 

It may seem obvious that you'll need to provide the information in an alternative format for people who can't see your visuals—those who are blind or visually impaired. 

Users implementing screen reading software rely on Alt tags and Title tags to convey an image's meaning and purpose. 

If you don't include alternative text with an image, a visually impaired person or user who disables image loading or encounters a broken image won't know what the image is meant to convey.

Adding Alternate text (Alt text) in Drupal

In the main ul.ie template when adding an image there will be a field to add Alt text .

You may have to add the image first to see the fields.

How to write Alt text

  • Alt text should describe the image and its purpose within the context of the page it's on. 
  • Imagine you’re reading the web page aloud over the phone to someone. This will help you decide what purpose (if any) the images have.
  • Don't include words like “image”, “icon”, or “picture” in the alt text, eg: Image of campus.
  • In certain situations, it may be important to distinguish between paintings, photographs, or illustrations. 
  • Keep the number of characters in an ALT text to under 100 characters.
  • Remember to use a full stop at the end of alt text so that the screen reader pauses before continuing to the rest of the content on the page.


It is recommended that you do not use "UL" in ALT or title fields. 

A modern screen reader will read UL as UL as in Hull. It is recommended to use University of Limerick or "U.L". 

A handy list of tips and tricks for alt tags. and an alt Tag Decision Tree to help you add your alt tag.