Justin Yarbrough

Accessibility Advocate, Writer, Speaker

Alt Text and Social Media

Social media has a great ability to connect us. Without it, I would have never found all the wonderful people in the blindness community on Twitter that have had such a positive impact on my life. Heck, you probably found this post on some social media platform.

The problem for blind people is that social media can seem pretty photo-intensive, leaving blind people to feel like they're missing out. In the last few years, though, major social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have been introducing features allowing people to add alt text to pictures, allowing people sharing content to provide a more inclusive experience.

What is Alt Text?

Simply put, alt text provides a text-based alternative to graphics on the web. Screen readers will read the alt text and identify the item as a graphic when encountered. Additionally, many browsers will display the alt text for a graphic when it's unable to load the graphic. This can happen because of a slow internet connections or being unable to locate the image.

Writing Alt Text

Writing good alt text can be a challenge. In my day job as an accessibility consultant, I describe writing alt text as an art rather than a science. While there are a few guiding principles based off accessibility best practices, there's also a lot of wiggle room. The following tips are based off a combination of best practices and my own personal taste:

Writing good alt text can be a challenge and may seem hard at first. Like anything else, though, it gets easier with practice. Over time you will figure out what works best for you.

How do I add alt text on social media?

The different social media platforms all have help articles describing how to add alt text to images. You can find those articles here:

Many third party social media apps also support adding alt text to images. You should be able to find instructions by doing a quick Google search. If your preferred app does not support adding alt text, then maybe it's time for a change.


Below are a few embedded tweets that all have alt text on the images. To view the alt text, you can expand the accordion below the tweet. To expand or collapse all the accordions, you can use the controls below.

Controls for all Alt Text Examples accordions

Quinn is on the floor with a half eaten zucchini. Looks guilty.

Black lab PJ roughhousing with yellow lab mix Quinn.

A black lab laying on a dog bed under an office desk.


With the advent of alt text support on major social media platforms, it's easier than ever to be more inclusive on those platforms. With just a little extra effort, it's possible to ensure blind people aren't left wondering what's in a picture.

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