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Under review

Alt text for images

Elizabeth Stephens 8 months ago in BLOX CMS updated 8 months ago 7

We are working on improving accessibility on our site and the lack of an alt text field for image assets is an issue. Are there any plans to add that option?

Answer

Answer

Here are my thoughts...

A new alt text field on the image (next to caption):

By default it would use the image title as it does now.

Then, ANYWHERE where the photo is shown, the alt text in the HTML uses the alt text field.

This would mean that Top Story blocks will show this in the images, even there. Do you agree with this? Like in situations like this, it would still use the alt text:

Under review

Elizabeth,

Can you talk more about what you're wanting? There is an existing alt text property that put in the image title. Are you wanting to be able to change that without changing the image title?

Example from your site today, main image has alt="Why run for School Board? Past board members, superintendents weigh in."

The macro that outputs the image using the image title

alt="[% oImage.title | truncate(256,'...') | html; %]"

Thanks,

Joe Hansen

TownNews Senior Solutions Team Lead

Yes, we want a separate field so we can add a full alt text description of the image in line with accessibility standards. A headline field is not a place where that makes sense.

Can you provide an example and/or reference to give more color to this? We run accessibility WCAG 2.1 audits regularly and this hasn't been an issue in the past, but we want to be as accessible as possible. Adding new fields to the output may be an issue, but if you're just wanting to use the caption field instead of title, that would be a simple macro change for your site.

There is a difference between alt text and a caption so I don't see that as a replacement. Also, because the image title shows up in places on the site, I don't think it makes sense for that to be the alt text either. For one of the other newsrooms I work with, I have experience with Grove, NPR's CMS, and they have a field when you add a photo to include the alt text as its own section. If the image title is what we need to work with for now, we can think more about how to better utilize that. But I would say that long term, we'd like to have that as a separate field. 

Here are some of the articles that were brought to my attention about this: 

https://source.opennews.org/articles/how-write-effective-alt-text-journalists/

Here is one particular point from that article: Imagine a photo of a person wearing a mask while walking down the street. The caption might tell you that a mask mandate was just lifted, or that X percent of the counties in the state still have mask mandates. That’s good for a caption! The alt text, though, should focus on what is actually in the photo: “A person wearing a mask while walking down the street.” Contextual statistics or quotes that don’t literally describe what’s in the image should be left out of alt text.

Some additional examples are available in this article: https://rjionline.org/news/alt-text-is-journalism-enhancing-your-reporting-with-accessibility/

Thanks! This is great feedback that I'll take to the product team.

TownNews Senior Solutions Team Lead

Answer

Here are my thoughts...

A new alt text field on the image (next to caption):

By default it would use the image title as it does now.

Then, ANYWHERE where the photo is shown, the alt text in the HTML uses the alt text field.

This would mean that Top Story blocks will show this in the images, even there. Do you agree with this? Like in situations like this, it would still use the alt text:

Christine -- That set up would be perfect! I know you'll have to work through development on this, but we'd be excited to have it when it's available.