How to add alt text

What is Alt Text?

Alt text (alternative text) is used to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page. Adding alternative text to images is a key principle of web accessibility and supports users who have low vision or are blind. Assistive technologies like screen readers read the alt text so users are able to perceive and understand the content on the page. 

Why Add Alt Text?

When you add multimedia content to Seesaw, Seesaw generates generic alt text for your content. For example, for student responses to activities, the alt text will describe an overview of the post contents: “Emily’s post, in response to Writer’s Workshop, 3 pages, contains voice”. 

If you want to further customize the alt text for your content to provide additional detail or context, Seesaw has additional tools: 

  1. Using the caption tool to provide a longer description of the post content.
  2. Adding per object alt text to content in activities templates for students.

Using the Caption Tool to Add Alt Text 

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For students or families who have low vision or use screen readers, adding a descriptive caption to posts, student responses, or announcements that contain images will make that content more accessible. For family members, these text captions can also be automatically translated to their home language if the family member does not speak the language of the classroom! Learn more about translation.    

If you want to add a text description to a post for students or families who will be viewing it, we recommend using the Caption tool. On each page, choose the quote button on the bottom left. Add a detailed description of the page into the caption, which will be associated with the post page and read back by screen readers when people view the post. 

Once you’ve added a caption, students and families who use screen readers will have the text caption read back to them by their screen reader when they view the post in their Seesaw app or website.

Using Per Object Alt Text in Creative Canvas 

Adding alt text to images, shapes, and videos to your activity templates is one way to make your lessons or announcements more accessible. When students use the creative tools in Seesaw on the web with a screen reader, they’re able to tab between all of the different parts of your lesson. If there is alt text, the screen reader will read that text back to them. Learn more about how Seesaw works with screen readers.

  1. Open the activity template for your activity.
  2. Add an object to your canvas, like a photo, video, voice, shape or label.  
  3. Select your object and tap the [...] button. 
  4. Choose the Accessibility menu option.
  5. Type your alt text. For labels, the default alt text is already the text of the label, but can be customized. 
  6. If you have added an object to your canvas that is purely decorative, you can disable accessibility for that object by unchecking the checkbox. This means it will not be discoverable by the tab key or by screen readers.   

This feature is currently only available on the web version of Seesaw.



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