Write more accessible Markdown images with this one simple trick

Sometimes the people we exclude are the ones we did not realize were there. Screen readers are an essential tool for blind and visually-impaired people to use software and browse the Internet. In open source projects and communities, Markdown is a lightweight markup language used to format text. It is also used in many other places. Often you need to embed an image into whatever you are writing (a picture, a diagram, or some useful visual aid to get your point across). One of the lesser-known and used features of Markdown are alt tags for images.

Use alt tags for Markdown images

Often an embedded picture in Markdown looks something like this:

![Screenshot_2019-06-14.jpg](https://example.com/Screenshot_2019-06-14.jpg)

When you render the Markdown, you see your picture. However, you don’t see the Screenshot_2019-06-14.jpg string. You might wonder what its purpose is or why bother changing it at all. But imagine for a moment if instead of seeing your picture when you rendered your Markdown, you only saw Screenshot_2019-06-14.jpg where your picture should be. Screen reader users often encounter this problem.

So instead, describe your Markdown image so a person that uses a screen reader can also follow the conversation:

![A flowchart describing how user data flows from a publisher, to a proxy, and to a group of subscribers](https://example.com/Screenshot_2019-06-14.jpg "A flowchart describing how user data flows from a publisher, to a proxy, and to a group of subscribers")

It takes an extra few seconds of your time, but it is one small way you can help make a better Internet for everyone.

P.S. – The text wrapped in quotation marks between the parentheses adds the title HTML attribute to your image, so the text appears as a tooltip when you mouse over the image. The more you know!


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

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