The placeholder description "enter image description here" implies that users should always add their own descriptions — why should I enter anything instead of leaving the field as blank?

  • 9
    So... if you understand that it's for visually impaired users, what's your question?
    – Catija
    Dec 6, 2017 at 21:07
  • @Catija: I was confused about text-based web browsers and browsing with images disabled, but I know now after some testing that the description is displayed. Should I move the last paragraph to its own answer or edit the existing one?
    – user598527
    Dec 6, 2017 at 21:11
  • 2
    If that's the answer to your question, it definitely doesn't belong in the question, no. If the existing answer is what allowed you to see the solution, I'd edit it to include this, otherwise, answer it yourself.
    – Catija
    Dec 6, 2017 at 21:17
  • @Catija: My (now-deleted) comment which is the former second paragraph was posted before the first answer.
    – user598527
    Dec 6, 2017 at 21:18
  • @Catija: I don't know what to do anymore — now it may seem that I'm leeching from the existing answer, but established users can fortunately see my deleted comment. In the past I've tried adding a significant amount of information to SE answers, but I've been asked not to do so.
    – user598527
    Dec 6, 2017 at 21:25
  • 1
    Only diamond moderators can see deleted comments. If you're meaning your deleted question content, everyone can see that by looking at the edit history.
    – Catija
    Dec 6, 2017 at 21:34
  • @Catija: I see, I mean the comment and not post edit history.
    – user598527
    Dec 6, 2017 at 21:34

2 Answers 2


why should I enter anything instead of leaving the field as blank?

You should do this because you want your question to be accessible and readable for everyone, including blind users, users with browser configurations that block direct loading of images, or users in environments where Imgur is blocked.

  • @user598527 Put relevant information into your question and not in comments. And BTW, if you know the good reasons to so, what are you asking for actually??
    – user0042
    Dec 6, 2017 at 20:13
  • As I said I don't fully know when GUI web browsers display the image description.
    – user598527
    Dec 6, 2017 at 20:14
  • 1
    Screen readers use that text if it's present. Dec 6, 2017 at 20:15
  • Sorry, this was a configuration issue. When images are disabled in Firefox the alternative text is shown.
    – user598527
    Dec 6, 2017 at 20:17
  • 1
    ...or for people whose employers block image sites like Imgur.
    – ale
    Dec 6, 2017 at 23:47

I think its not a matter of why - its also a matter of when and what. (and it makes it easier for some folks).

Alt text serves a few purposes. It lets folks with disabilities know what an image is. And it lets you add information about an image that might not fit quite well in a post without breaking flow.

LFM-66 Screw Drive Vehicle. It appears to be a truck, with a pair of floats with helical screw threads on it

Now I could tell you its an LFM66 but most of the time, its just used as an example of a strange, single purpose machine. Without the image, you'd not really know what is is.

The hint lets me add a description so someone who can't see what it is can read or be read out a description of it.

It shows up in the markup like this

screenshot of page inspector

So a screenreader or other accessibility tool can see it.

On my favourite text mode browser (w3m), the page renders something like

screenshot of this answer on w3m, pretty cunning right?

  • 1
    @DavidPostill why linking the image to itself? There's no bigger version. It's useless edit. Dec 7, 2017 at 9:47
  • @ShadowWizard reverted :) Dec 7, 2017 at 9:49
  • @ShadowWizard Now I remember why I did it, without that edit the image URL isn't shown in the FF status bar ... so it's not useless :) Dec 7, 2017 at 9:50
  • @DavidPostill that wasn't my point, now there are two pointless revisions... nothing fatal, but what I meant was to not make such edits in the future as they don't really add anything. :-) Dec 7, 2017 at 9:51
  • @DavidPostill oh, without a link image URL isn't shown in status bar of any browser, but Chrome allows right click then you can copy the URL, open in new tab, etc. Simple enough for me. :) Dec 7, 2017 at 9:52

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