Making Images Accessible on Web Pages
Images in a website not only make the post or article or the website to look beautiful but are meant to complement the website and aid in conveying the intended information in a way that it will be well and clearly understood. As a matter of fact, the human brain processes visual information faster than written information. Moreover most of the information processed by the brain is about what we see as opposed to what we read; we do more seeing or watching than we read.
This might be the reason why social networks which are centric to images such as Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr are exponentially rising. Even other social networking platforms not solely meant for images such as Facebook or Twitter have seen more interactions on posts shared with images. This means that the images when used over the internet will increase the engagement of users by a certain percentage.
It’s also true that users who visit online stores and e-commerce sites will be after visuals of the products more than they might be concerned by the text info. ‘Seeing is believing’ is a slogan they seem to uphold.
Now among web developers and designers, there’s the need to use images which are optimized having the variation of user’s context in mind; that is the images used should try to address all groups of users who access the internet no matter what their personal position might be such as people with cognitive disabilities, visual impairment, motor problems, seizures e.g. photo-epileptic seizure etc.
Therefore there are some standards which need to be observed for the images used online. They include;
1) Delivering responsive images.
Images used on websites need be responsive in a manner that users accessing the website through different devices such as mobile devices e.g. iPads, iPhones or Android phones, desktops, laptops, tablets, blackberries etc are not disadvantaged. The image load time should be made convenient for all the users not matter the device they are using by making the images responsive.
This is also a concept which is currently used by search engines such as Google in ranking sites. Since mobile users have increased rapidly over the recent years, Search engines insists that images used should be responsive for the mobile devices if at all a websites wants higher ranking.
2) Use of Alternative Texts.
It’s vital for images to include equivalent text of their description usually called alt text. This text is usually included in the markup of the images and helps people with visual problems using a screen reader to view content on the website to know what the image is all about.
The alt text also enables people who’ve have turned images off on their browsers to get information of what the image used entails.
3) Image type and quality.
For any visual to convey its information more appropriately, it should be of a desired quality and size. A large image may delay the image load time and hence should be resized. If you don’t feel like resizing, then it’s critical that you use thumbnail on the web page to link back to the large image.
The type of image file used should be of a format common used such as GIF or JPG and clip arts.