[Athen] Alt text for instructions with screenshots

Karlen Communications info at karlencommunications.com
Tue Sep 25 10:26:51 PDT 2018

I use the Alt Text as something supporting what my tutorials are presenting.
For example, if I have the step by step instructions on how to change a font
size using the Font dialog, the Alt Text for the image would be "Font dialog
showing Font Size options" and I would put focus on the Font Size settings
part of the dialog when doing the screen image. Sometimes I just use "Font
dialog" when I've given a step-by-step overview of the Font dialog settings.

Cheers, Karen

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf
Of Robert Beach
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2018 10:45 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Alt text for instructions with screenshots

Alt text has a purpose which is to give the information provided by the
image. I would not change this. Rather, I would add the keycommands to the
general instructions since people without disabilities may wish to use them
as well. Usually key commands can be more efficient than mousing everything.
This is more in line with universal design.

Robert Lee Beach

Assistive Technology Specialist

Kansas City Kansas Community College

7250 State Avenue

Kansas City, KS 66112

Phone: 913-288-7671

Email: rbeach at kckcc.edu <mailto:rbeach at kckcc.edu>

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> > On Behalf Of
Christine Robinson
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2018 9:20 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: [Athen] Alt text for instructions with screenshots

Hi all -

For our campus, I'm tasked with creating instructions for various elements
in Office 365. Obviously, I want to make the instructions accessible - and I
haven't dealt with this kind of thing before.

My instructions include steps such as (for example) "In the upper left
corner of the Office 365 window, click the icon for the App Launcher,"
followed by a screenshot with the icon circled.

It seems like the alt text should not be a description of the screenshot,
however. I suspect a screen reader user doesn't really care what the icon
looks like. Since alt text is supposed to convey the same information that a
sighted user would obtain from an image, it makes sense to me that the alt
text should offer instructions on how to accomplish the same result using
keyboard commands.

For example, if my text instructions say, "in the upper left corner, click
the icon." perhaps the alt text for the image should say something like,
"Tab to the icon for the App Launcher." ???

So my questions for you all are:

1. Is it correct that, in this case, alt text should provide
instructions on how to navigate to the icon instead of a description of the

2. Where can I find more instructions re. using Office 365 features
via keyboard commands? I've searched on the Microsoft site but haven't
succeeded in finding anything.


Christine Robinson | Technical Trainer/Writer | Center for Teaching

Georgia Gwinnett College | 1000 University Center Lane| Lawrenceville, GA

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