At CSA, we offer a full suite of Editorial Services to accompany curriculum development, design, and production. These services include: Copyediting, Proofreading, Fact-Checking, Indexing, Cold Read/Cold Solve, Answer Checking, and Alt Text Writing.
In this blog post, we are going to spotlight a recent Alt Text Writing project. Alt Text, or Alternative Text, describes the appearance or function of an image on a page. Alt text is read aloud by screen readers for visually impaired users.
We were approached by a client to complete an alt text writing project that involved writing Alt Text for 1,000 photos that were part of online reading passages for Grades 2–5. These photos accompanied clickable keywords in an online glossary. The project consisted of five batches split between three freelance writers, and the duration was seven weeks.
Directives included guidelines from the client for the Alt Text to be between 100–140 characters, so concise yet descriptive enough for the students to learn about the image or photo. We also had to be gender neutral if possible, depending on the image or photo; in some cases, it was necessary to include the gender. Writers considered the audience, as some words may be too difficult for elementary students to understand (i.e., “engulfing” and “helicopter bay”).
The client provided a shared Google doc that housed all of the images/photos, keywords, in addition to any feedback or notes. This is also where the writers entered the Alt Text. The doc also calculated character count, which was very helpful.
Challenges and Successes
One of the challenges with this project was the very tight deadline, but we successfully completed it on time. We were able to staff multiple writers who had Alt Text writing experience, and who met the quick turnaround times. We also adhered to specific writing guidelines per the client that included character count and word complexity limitation, as well as CRE guidelines. The client was so pleased with the writing that they asked us to do a second phase of the project!
Overall, this was a fun and rewarding project for Editorial Services. Alt Text is not as common of a task for us, and we were able to demonstrate our Alt Text writing abilities while meeting the client’s time frame. The client was very collaborative, responsive, and supportive throughout the project, and we really enjoyed it!