Alt text on social media 1 - Facebook


When you create a post on Facebook and add one or more photos, you will get this pop up window and you can type your post at the top and your photo is underneath it. If you hover over the photo, the two buttons will appear: Edit and Add photos/video. Click on Edit.

Screenshot of the pop up that you get on Facebook when adding a photo. It shows the Edit button which appears when you hover over the photo.

That brings up another window with a short menu on the left. The bottom option is Alternative Text. When you click on that, you get a box where you can type in your alt text. Make sure you've decided what to write first, as Facebook, rather unhelpfully, makes the picture all blurry.

Screenshot of the edit window, showing a left menu with Alternative Text at the bottom. I've clicked on it which made a text box appear underneath. That's where I'll type my alt text.

If you forget to add alt text on Facebook, it's not the end of the world because it lets you go back later to add it in. 

Adding alt text later

Let's assume you've added a photo or some other image and now you want to go back and add alt text. It's easy! 

Go into your page and click on the photo. That usually brings the photo up bigger, in a pop up window. Look on the right, next to your name and there are three dots. Click on them and a menu should appear.

Screenshot of a Facebook post with a picture. On the right, next to my name, there are three dots. I clicked on them and a menu appeared. The second item is Change alt text.

Look down the menu that has appeared down the right hand side of the photo. The second item in the menu is Change Alt Text. Click on it and this window will pop up.

Screenshot of the Change alt text window. It shows the auto generated alt text at the top (which is rubbish) and then my alt text at the bottom which explains that the photo is a memorial bench with a carved soldier and a poppy in the back rest.

The bit at the top, that begins Image may contain... is the automatically generated alt text, which is often wrong or vague. Type in your own in the text box at the bottom and then click Save. That will be so much better. 

If you want to get some fantastic ideas for what sort of things to write in the alt text box, have a look at Sarah Millican's Facebook page. She writes the most amazing photo descriptions. She doesn't put it in the alt text. She adds it at the end of her post so that we can all enjoy her descriptions. 

So the next time you post a photo on Facebook, please add some alt text. Admittedly, if you only have a handful of friends, you would probably know if one of them was blind, but if you have hundreds of friends, or post publicly, or have a business page of some kind... you really should do this for every post.


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