Introduction to Image Descriptions

Including image descriptions in your ebooks and digital content hugely increases accessibility because it ensures that all readers have access to the same content. This Introduction discusses the importance of image descriptions — to your readers, to the business case, to social inclusion, and more.

  • Subject(s):

    Image Descriptions

  • Resource Type(s):

    Foundations and Rationale

  • Audience:


Suggested Prerequisite

Before reading this, you might want to read:


Think of all the books that you have read for leisure, work or school in your lifetime. How many of your textbooks, novels, memoirs, and instructional books have images? Now imagine those books with all of the images omitted. Undoubtedly, this would make the experience of reading the books frustrating and challenging, especially if you need those books for employment and educational purposes.

This is the reality for many readers around the world who have a print disability (which includes individuals who are blind or visually impaired, people with cognitive and comprehension disabilities, and persons who have physical mobility challenges), but happily, there are ways to address this issue! Including image descriptions in your books is the best way to ensure that your publications can be fully understood, and fully enjoyed, by all readers.

Importance of Image Descriptions

Image descriptions should be used in ebooks, on social media posts, on your website, and in your newsletters. It’s important because…

Checklist for Creating Image Descriptions

Image descriptions should be …

Download the Checklist

Download a PDF version of this checklist.

Next Steps


Determining who Can/Should be Tasked with Writing Image Descriptions

Who Should Create Image Descriptions

This resource discusses the options you might have for image description creators/authors. There are many different people that can potentially do this work, and deciding on a person or group is an important step!

Subject(s): Image Descriptions, Strategic Planning
Resource Type(s): Standards and Best Practices

Writing Image Descriptions

Best Practices for Writing Image Descriptions

This Best Practices document reviews key guidelines to writing image descriptions. Whether you are a publisher, freelancer, author, or anyone else, this document will help you make decisions about how and what to describe.

Subject(s): Image Descriptions
Resource Type(s): Standards and Best Practices

Reviewing Image Descriptions

Guide for Reviewing Image Descriptions

This guide shares a short checklist of items to review when reading or editing image descriptions. Whether you wrote them yourself, or someone else wrote them, this guide will help ensure the quality of descriptions.

Subject(s): Digital Marketing, Ebook Production, Image Descriptions, Website Accessibility
Resource Type(s): Checklist, Standards and Best Practices

Writing Descriptions for Digital Media

Introduction to Writing Alt-text for Digital Media (other than ebooks)

Images used on websites, social media, and other non-book content need image descriptions. The writing guidelines are mostly the same, but there are a few additional things to consider. This Introduction document looks at these,…

Subject(s): Digital Marketing, Image Descriptions
Resource Type(s): Checklist

External Links to More Information

Guide to Image Descriptions

A thorough introduction to image descriptions; it discusses: the importance of image descriptions, workflow considerations, and terminology; it also provides some technical guidance and code samples, and of course provides detailed image description guidelines, with examples!

Content Source Acknowledgement Guide to Image Descriptions