Does Buffer support Alt Text? Not Yet, But There Is a Workaround

picture of tweet that says "Contract words by putting the apostrophe where the dropped letter was. Do not = don't. #GrammarTip [alt text: GIF of man dropping mic]

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of talk about alternative text (alt text) in the Twitterverse. What is alt text, you ask? It’s an HTML description added to an image or GIF that’s uploaded to the internet.

Why add alt tags to images? Well, those who are blind browse the web too. They use a screen reader that reads text to them. If they come across a tweet with an image that doesn’t have alt text, they’re missing out.

After learning more about alt text from Ashely Bischoff’s presentation at ACES2017, I was ready to start using it in Dragonfly’s Twitter posts. However, we use a social media scheduler to add all our posts into a queue. I was surprised to learn that social schedulers such as Buffer and HootSuite don’t have a feature that allows users to add alt text to their images.
We turned to Ashley for help. She told us that Buffer was currently working toward supporting alt text, but didn’t offer the feature yet. Here’s what she suggested in the meantime:

  • “As a stopgap until the schedulers get their act together, an option is to schedule text-based tweets normally but then use—or the Twitter mobile apps—solely for posting tweets that have images (since those options offer native support for alt text).”
  • “As a third option—which is also sort of a workaround—you could manually add alt text to tweets with images. That is, you could append “alt = [description here]” to the end of those tweets, perhaps along these lines.”
  • “An option that I wouldn’t recommend would be to ignore alt text altogether. Because doing so just leaves money on the table—since people with disabilities are potential customers too.”

As Ashley said, don’t ignore alt text altogether! It’s more inclusive and gives you the chance to gain more customers.
Happy tweeting!
You can find Ashley on Twitter @FriendlyAshley.


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