“Feature image alt text cannot be longer than 125 characters.” Why?

Hi community! :wave:t2:
I just started this year to regularly add alt text to all my uploaded media. It’s easy and it helps blind and visually impaired people to experience the internet a bit easier.

However, adding alt text to a featured image produces this odd error message. 125 characters is far too little to write a halfway reasonable description. Even on Twitter or Mastodon, 1,000 characters or more are available.

I’m not a developer but I feel like it shouldn’t be a huge hassle to fix this. Not sure what I can do about it. Would be great if someone from team Ghost could take care of it. :kissing_heart:

Cheers!
Bildschirmfoto 2022-06-16 um 15.12.02

Ideally, the alt text should be succinct, so I’ve never hit this restriction. Context, is everything, but I can’t imagine why you would want up to a thousand characters. Surely, this would interrupt the users’ reading of the post.

There’s a good guide here.

https://webaim.org/techniques/alttext/#context

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It is not at all about writing a novel and exhausting the 1000 characters. Alt text is not a caption, in this respect the reading experience should not be disturbed for people who can see, because the text appears only when you click on the image. The point is to describe what is depicted as neutrally as possible without falling into the interpretation trap.

I was able to participate in a few Twitter Spaces over the past few weeks where people with visual impairments and people who are blind described their experiences using the Internet. The tips on your linked page are good, but do not reflect the needs of blind people. In this respect, 125 characters limit is usually too little to write a meaningful alt text for blind people.

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I agree, it’s not a caption. However, for the blind and partially sighted, the content on the alt tag is often read, and thus, based on current research, should be succinct and in context with the main body of the page.

Can you share this with Ghost and the Ghost community? I’d certainly be interested if the guidance is changing, or see some examples.

I believe JAWS is the most popular screen reader, and it supports Alt tags longer than 125 characters.

It seems the 125 character guidance is outdated.

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My take is that the guidance hasn’t changed, and it’s not really about character limits, but writing text alternatives that make sense in the context of the page or article for the blind and partially sighted. However, the discussion shouldn’t be about the number of characters: it’s about accessibility. I think this post, from an accessibility-focused digital agency, sums it up.

My understanding was not that 125 characters was a hard limit imposed by screen readers. Rather, that keeping alt text to about 125 characters is a suggested best practice based on screen readers’ inability to navigate forward/backward or pause and resume midway through alt text.

If an image necessitates a longer description, then a link to such text should be included, so the reader has the choice to follow that link without interrupting the reading experience. This seems to be the approach set out in the draft W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0.