On October 27, the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) released the new version of its Photo Metadata Standard that includes two new properties aimed at making images more accessible: Alt Text (Accessibility) and Extended Description (Accessibility). For the first time ever, there is now a standardized method for embedding accessible descriptions directly into image files for interoperability between systems.
On November 4, MediaGraph became the first Digital Asset Management software to support these new properties.
From our Chief Product Officer, Peter Krogh: As the “source of truth” about your media, we believe it is essential for DAM software to support robust metadata creation and interchange between systems. In order to foster adoption, it’s essential to give organizations a way to create and embed the data.
Alternative Text (Alt Text) is an HTML attribute used to describe images which cannot be displayed or viewed. Originally designed for web services that were not able to display images, it is now primarily used for accessibility for blind and visually-impaired people, through the use of assistive technologies such as screen readers.
“Most images on the web today have alt text that is inaccurate, incomplete, or missing altogether, creating access barriers that block people from engaging with our digital world,” said Caroline Desrosiers, founder and CEO of Scribely, an accessibility solutions company. “This problem is decades overdue and it cannot continue. Equal access to information online is a civil right. With IPTC's new accessibility fields, we now have a way to "hard-wire" alt text to photo metadata and create born-accessible images that include everyone.”
Adding the new accessibility properties to the IPTC Standard will allow all compliant software to read, write and transfer this data reliably. It can also facilitate automatic extraction of the data by Content Management (CMS) systems.
A closing note: We know we need to do better on our own website, and we are actively working to improve our content’s accessibility.