I often talk about adding alt text to images, but I never actually talk about what makes good alt text, for people who are unsure. So here's my perspective as a sighted person who sometimes uses a screen reader.

Tips for writing alt text for images and gifs:
- When sharing a screenshot of text, type out the text. If you're sharing a whole page but only highlighting a bit and the rest is irrelevent, only type the relevant part.

- Also give context of where it's from. "Screenshot of Reddit post. Text reads: ..."
- For images, give however much detail is relevant.

"Selfie!" Basic facial expression, hair, outfit, etc. might be fine.

"I love my nose!" Describe your nose.

Tweet about a tree with photo, but there are houses in the background? You prob don't need to describe each house.
- Some pics are more about the visual, others a feeling.

"Look at this pretty tree I found!" Describe the size, shape, color, etc.

"This tree looks how I feel." Just size and color may not portray the image correctly. Perhaps, "The branches are all drooping in a sad way."
- Make descriptions clear. You might not need every detail, but give enough that someone who can't see it can understand.

"Hair blowing in wind." Loose strands of hair blowing by like a tumbleweed? Hair on someone's head? Blowing away from their face? Into their face?
- Any description is better than none! I'm sure all my descriptions aren't perfect either!

- If you forget alt text, add it in a threaded tweet. It's better than nothing, and it will help you get into the habit and remember in the future.
- Lastly, remember, not everyone who uses a screen reader is fully blind and born that way. And even someone who is can still enjoy descriptions. Don't assume that something isn't worth describing just because you think it can't be appreciated by someone who can't see it!
- One more thing, it relates to my last point, add alt text to art you share too if you're an artist. It's not just for photos!
Also, in case I made it sound like every description needs to be super short, you can write longer descriptions! It really just depends on what's relevant in the context and the image itself. Use however much description is needed!
This is getting much more traction than I thought it would, and I'm so happy people care about accessibility! I'm a little overwhelmed though, so I'll check replies again prob tomorrow, and I'm sorry if I miss anyone's!
Since this is still going, if anyone wants to know what screen readers are like or test alt text, NVDA is a free one for computers (though takes some learning), and phones have features under accessibility. "Select to speak" is perfect for this purpose if you have it 🙂
To answer one question I've seen a few times: Yes, mention colors! Not everyone who uses screen readers is blind (I can see, I just get headaches from screens). Some blind people were not born that way. And colors have meaning even if you can't see them (red = bold).
Also, some discussion going on here about describing ethnicity and gender:

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