ALT Tags Benefit Everyone

I know I keep exclaiming that adding ALT tags to images benefit everyone, not just users on screen readers, but here is the perfect case of WHY it benefits users on visual browsers.

Here is a site in my bookmark archives which I apparently liked at one point. Today, though there were some problems with the images loading so this is what I saw:

White Screen with grid of rectangles with each with question mark

So what was this site about? If you said Underground Railroad, you should consider becoming a psychic.

Now let’s show a good example from PBS where ALT Tags are implemented. Can you tell where the images used to be? I’ll let you ponder that. You should however, be able to determine that you are on a site about fireworks…even without ESP. You can also see that there is a main menu to the main PBS sites including a program listing and the PBS store.

Click Image to open larger image

Below is the same site with images displayed. The main menu is now a set of images and the header includes a nifty image of a firework shell exploding with embedded links.
Although there is some extra information with the images, in terms of navigation, I would say the site was very functional without them…because of the ALT tags.

Fireworks site with top menu changed and Fireworks header
Click Image to open larger image

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