One of my favorite types of products to shop for is jewelry, specifically earrings and simple necklaces. Since I am fairly selective about what I wear and have low vision, it’s extremely helpful for me to read image descriptions and alt text for jewelry items whenever I am shopping, as it helps me to make sure that I am picking out something that I will wear and won’t have to deal with returning because it isn’t what I expected. Here are my tips for how to write image descriptions about jewelry for visual impairment, and why it is helpful to include.
What is alt text? What is an image description?
Alt text tells people what is in an image, such as text, colors, or basic essential details. If an image fails to load, alt text will display in its place. Search engines also index alt text information and consider it a factor when determining search engine ratings.
An image description gives more details than alt text and allows someone to learn more about what is in an image that goes beyond alt text. Alt text gives the user the most important information while image descriptions provide further detail. For example, alt text tells someone that I dropped an earring on the floor, and an image description tells someone that I dropped one of my rose quartz dangle earrings on the beige carpet, and that I look frustrated.
- How To Write Alt Text and Image Descriptions for the Visually Impaired
- How To Write Alt Text and Image Descriptions For Instagram
- Writing Image Descriptions For Red Carpet Outfits
Should I use both alt text and image descriptions?
If possible, use both alt text and image description when creating product listings, as it can be difficult to include thorough descriptions of jewelry with a limited amount of characters. Alt text is read out loud when hovering over the image, while image descriptions are typically written in a different area so that the user can choose whether they want to read the extended description or not. It is strongly recommended that alt text be 125 characters or less to ensure compatibility for popular screen readers. Image descriptions can be longer, but I recommend keeping them the length of a tweet, or about 280 characters if possible.
What to include when writing alt text for jewelry
Helpful information to include when writing alt text for jewelry includes:
- Type of jewelry, i.e hoop earrings or statement necklace
- Dominant colors or materials, such as purple ceramic post earrings or a pearl bracelet
- General size of jewelry- small, medium, large, etc. Precise measurements can be added in the image description
- Shape of jewelry, i.e silver bar necklace or cat-shaped earrings
- Cut of stone if relevant, such as princess cut diamond ring or cabochon amethyst earrings
- Specific aesthetic for the jewelry, i.e steampunk, boho, minimalist, etc
- Any other appearance information, such as if it is shiny, has a pattern, or is very delicate
- Any relevant text that is included in the image
What to exclude when writing alt text for jewelry
Information to exclude when writing alt text for jewelry includes:
- The name of the jewelry/product- that is already included in the product title and is read out loud by screen readers
- Price of the product, since this can change over time- exception if the price is in the picture
- Information about the model or background of the image, unless it is relevant for people purchasing the product- I don’t care that the earrings are sitting on a leaf, but I do want to know if the earrings are on the upper part of the ear instead of the earlobe
- Any subjective information about the appearance of the jewelry, such as if it is pretty or trendy
Where to put an image description
Trying to figure out where to put an image description for the visually impaired? For product listings, I recommend putting it at the top of the product description so that screen readers will read this information first. This can be slightly more detailed than the traditional product description and provide information about all of the visual details of the product. If relevant, I also recommend having a text-based sizing chart, as images of size charts can be difficult to enlarge in my experience.
On social media, I recommend adding the description to the caption of the post if space allows, though adding it in the comment section is also a common practice. If the image description is in the comment section, make note of this within the caption. I also recommend writing the phrase “Image Description:” or “ID:” in front of the description so that users know what it is.
- How To Write Image Descriptions About Online Products For Visual Impairment
- How To Write Video Descriptions For TikTok
- How To Write Video Descriptions For Animal Videos On Social Media
What to include when writing image descriptions for jewelry
Helpful information to include when writing image descriptions for jewelry includes:
- All information that is included in the alt text
- Measurements of the item, i.e earrings with a 0.5 inch drop or a necklace with a 24-inch long chain
- Item weight- not shipping weight
- Clasp/closure information for necklaces, bracelets, and similar items
- Materials used in the jewelry, such as 24K gold or rhodium plating
- Arrangement of beads or stones
- Colors or patterns used in the jewelry and how they are arranged, i.e two small sapphire stones that surround a larger clear stone in the center
Sharing alt text and image descriptions on social media
Whether you’re showing off your latest products on Instagram or promoting your brand on Twitter, it’s important to make sure that social media posts also include alt text or image descriptions so that users with visual impairments are able to access this information easily- and yes, there are people with vision loss who use social media! I have an entire post about adding alt text to popular social media websites linked below.
- How To Add Alt Text On Social Media
- How To Make Your Instagram Feed Accessible For Visual Impairment
- How To Make ASCII/Emoji Memes Accessible For Visual Impairment
I love supporting small businesses and artisans whenever I buy jewelry, and I am grateful to see more and more products that are including image descriptions and alt text so that customers who are blind or visually impaired can shop independently. I hope that this post is helpful for others that are writing alt text and image descriptions for jewelry!