Alt-text, also known as alternative text, is a descriptive textual representation of an image on a webpage. It serves several important functions. Firstly, it provides context and conveys the same essential information that the image would if a user is unable to see it due to visual impairment or if the image fails to load. Screen readers, which are used by individuals with visual impairments, read out the alt-text to provide an understanding of what the image depicts. Secondly, alt-text contributes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) since search engines index this text, helping them understand the content of the image and how it relates to surrounding text, which can improve the page’s visibility in search results. Lastly, alt-text can also improve user experience by appearing in place of an image if the image file is not displayed, informing the user about the content that is supposed to be there. Good alt-text is concise and descriptive, avoiding phrases like “image of” or “graphic of,” as it’s already implied that the description refers to an image. It’s a critical component of web accessibility, ensuring that all users, regardless of their ability to perceive images, have access to the information conveyed by visual elements.

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