Missouri State University
Web and New Media Blog

Accessibility series: alt text

Welcome to our series of posts entitled: how to make your website accessible! In the first post we discussed the ethical and legal reasoning for why accessibility is important.

Today we focus on adding alternative text to images.

Tips for success

It’s a good idea to add images to posts because it drives readers to your site. But how do we make the image work for everyone?

Imagine the pre-smart phone days. You’ve found an image from your days in Brownie Scouts and want to show your best friend. But she lives six hours away. You could make a copy of the photograph and mail it to her, but you can’t wait! So, you call her up on your landline and tell her about the photo. Similarly, alt text is like describing an image so that the website visitor can understand its meaning.

How much should you say? Here are specific ideas to consider while writing alternative text. Don’t begin the text with the words “an image” or “a photo.” Don’t repeat the caption because it is redundant. Do briefly describe the image.

When blogging

If you post to a Missouri State blog, you use the blogging platform WordPress.  This is how you add alt text within your Missouri State blog.

Example of WordPress screen for al text
Use the Alt Text field to when uploading or editing an image in WordPress.

When updating your website

Missouri State webpages are maintained on Web Press. To add images to your site, upload it or select the image in the Asset Manager. You will have the option to add the caption. This is used as the alt text in Web Press.

Web Press screen showing alt text (caption)
Use the Edit Attributes link to add or change the alt text for an image.

How to know if you are successful?

To determine whether your site meets accessibility standards, enter the address into a web accessibility site like WAVE. Find the alt tag on images within the results. If it is green the alternative text is sufficient. If it is yellow it needs attention; it might be too long or too short. If it is red you need to add text.

Screenshot of students taking a photograph of themselves
After you enter your website address into WAVE, review the results for small red, yellow or green squares on each photo to check for acceptable alt text.
Posted in Accessibility, Web Press, WordPress Blogs | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Social media kit: Collaborative Diversity Conference

During the Collaborative Diversity Conference, you can learn to take part in expanding diversity networks and creating a statewide community for enhanced recruitment and retention of underrepresented professionals, faculty and students. This is a two-day event with a pre-conference screening of American Textures designed to showcase industry-specific best practices in cultural competence, intervention, pedagogy and research.

Key details

Share your story

Help us spread the word about the Collaborative Diversity Conference to the Missouri State University and local communities by sharing it on social media.

If you attend the event, we want to hear about your experience! We encourage you to join the online conversation during the Collaborative Diversity Conference by posting about it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tagging your posts with the official hashtag: #Diversity17.

Make your post social media savvy


Sample social media posts

Sample tweets

  • The Collaborative Diversity Conference is 4/20-4/21. Plan your events: http://bit.ly/1jCcSb8 #Diversity17
  • How to be a #CitizenBear: Attend the Collaborative Diversity Conference: http://bit.ly/1jCcSb8 #Diversity17
  • The Collaborative Diversity Conference will explore the value of community. Registration: http://bit.ly/1kF6tfI #Diversity17
  • The Collaborative Diversity Conference welcomes Prof. Scott E. Page on Thursday, April 20. http://bit.ly/1gvyPoI #Diversity17

Review our steps for turning a link into a tweet.

Sample Facebook posts

Sharing about the Collaborative Diversity Conference on Facebook allows for some additional customization. The sample posts provide content recommendations based on our best practice tips for optimizing link sharing on Facebook.

Review our tips for making the most of a Facebook post.

Example 1

Scott Page

URL: http://bit.ly/1jCcSb8

Headline: Keynote speaker Scott E. Page offers ways to breakdown complex systems and grow diversity

Text: The Collaborative Diversity Conference is your opportunity to engage with diversity professionals, share best practices and gain creative ideas.

Example 2

woman a conference

URL: Division for Diversity and Inclusion Facebook event

Text: Learn about inspiring commitment and driving collaboration at the Collaborative Diversity Conference.


This guest post was written by Tabitha Haynes. Please contact her for more information.

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Our next social media guru: You?

Students at Welcome Weekend

Are you our next social media star?

We’re looking for a smart, involved Missouri State student who wants a career in social media marketing.

If that sounds like you, apply now to become a new media specialist intern with the office of web and new media. In the fall 2017 semester, you’ll get to work with the people who run social media for the university and alumni association.

Our intern will gain valuable experience in real-world settings and walk away with several benefits:

  • A professional portfolio that includes at least two social media campaigns, four blog posts and two visuals
  • An insider’s access to best practices about social media, writing and website content development
  • An opportunity to display skills in a professional setting, which will place the intern’s resume above their peers’

Interested? Let’s tell you more about what kind of a person we’re looking for.


  • We want someone who loves social media and engaging with people, because you will develop social media campaigns for university platforms including Missouri State Facebook and Twitter.
  • We’re also looking for versatile storytellers, so you’ll be able to write content for university blogs, edit photos and interview newsmakers.
  • You’ll get the behind-the-scenes access to major university events such as Commencement, Homecoming and Fountain Day.
  • We also give you the keys to MissouriState.edu. You’ll update photos, videos and text as needed on university websites.

Select projects

As the new media specialist intern, you will get the chance to contribute to a variety of university projects.

Social media campaigns

University events

Access to cover big events such as #BearsHomecoming


Create engaging blog posts to promote campus activities


Your inside access starts with two half-day training sessions during the first week of fall semester classes. Plus, you’ll also receive continued training exercises in weekly meetings.

Desired skills and experience


You must be a currently enrolled student at Missouri State. Additionally, if you’re pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, public relations, journalism or related areas, that’s ideal.


You need to have demonstrated knowledge of AP style, social media marketing and photography and videography. But above all, you need to be a strong writer. We’d also love to have someone who knows photo editing and basic knowledge of Web best practices.


The internship requires some evening and weekend work, and you must be able to work at computer workstations for extended periods of time. Additionally, applicants must have visual and audio acuity within normal ranges.

You must also be committed to working with our diverse student and community populations.

Applying for the job

If you’re in, email us an application to web@missouristate.edu. We’re accepting them from March 16-April 12. In addition, you’ll need to provide the following:

  • Resume (including your social media handles)
  • Cover letter
  • Two writing samples
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Join us for free training about digital marketing

Join us for a free half-day session about best practices for websites, blogs and social media. We’ll offer tips and tricks for online marketing and communications.

Taking picture with phoneMaking your statement in a digital world

You’ll learn practical strategies for managing websites, blogs and social media. We’ll answer questions like:

  • How do we repurpose our website and blog content and distribute it on social media?
  • What do users want my website, blog or social media to provide?
  • How do we become better strategic storytellers?
  • How do we manage messaging on multiple social media channels?
  • What are some advanced strategies to increase our effectiveness on Facebook, Twitter
    and Instagram?
  • How can we best leverage photo and video content?
  • What can we do immediately to make our digital communications more strategic?

Key details

  • What: Making Your Statement in a Digital World, a free training on websites and social media presented by Erika Brame and Kevin Agee
  • When: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., April 12
  • Where: Duane G. Meyer Library, Room 010-B
  • Who: Open to faculty, staff and students who manage content for Missouri State websites, blogs and social media platforms
  • How: This event is free; registration though My Learning Connection is requested. Please feel free to bring your own laptop or tablet.
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Social Media Kit: Public Affairs Conference 2017

The 2017 Public Affairs Conference theme is Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Perspectives on Self-Government. The conference will help all of us talk about our rights and responsibilities as citizens in a modern democracy.

Key details

  • What: Public Affairs Conference
  • When: April 4-7, 2017
  • Where: Plaster Student Union and Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts at Missouri State
  • Who: Plenary speakers, guest artists and presenters
  • No tickets required
  • All events are free and open to the public

Share your story

Help us discuss the Public Affairs Conference by sharing it on social media. Posts with the #CitizenBear hashtag will be pulled to the #CitizenBear Tagboard.

Make your post social media savvy

  • Tag your posts with the official Public Affairs Conference hashtag, #CitizenBear
  • Follow Missouri State University on Facebook or @missouristate on Twitter
  • Tag your posts with the Springfield, Missouri hashtag: #SGF
  • When you post to Facebook and Twitter, boost your status update by sharing it with a photo or video
  • Nothing beats a first-hand perspective. Share a photo from or quote about your experience

Visual Assets


Live video

The university will live stream four conference events on YouTube.

Watch Perves Hoodbhoy plenary

Watch Nadine Strossen plenary

Watch Inertia Dance Company

Watch Sonja Lyubomirsky plenary

Twitter GIFs

Click or tap the images below to save these #CitizenBear GIFs to your computer or device. They’re great for sharing on Twitter.

service2 service3 CitizenBear Volunteers

Facebook images

Brand banners Facebook crop Avenue of flags Facebook crop Students serving Facebook crop Citizen Scholar statue Facebook crop

Twitter images

Students serving Twitter crop Citizen Scholar statue Twitter crop Brand banners Twitter crop International avenue of flags Twitter crop

Sample social media posts

Sample tweets

  • Join the @MissouriState community for its Public Affairs Conference April 4-7. http://bit.ly/1HFHLnl #CitizenBear #SGF
  • What does it mean to be a citizen in a democracy in 2017? http://bit.ly/2mOlgNe #CitizenBear #SGF
  • These events at @MissouriState will help you become a more informed citizen. http://bit.ly/1BM0PvB #CitizenBear #SGF

Tuesday, April 4

  • I’m with @DorisKGoodwin at @HammonsHall. Let’s talk about that wild 2016 election. http://bit.ly/2mf10mq #CitizenBear #SGF

Wednesday, April 5

  • How do we pursue the American dream in an age of global terrorism? http://bit.ly/2n7EetY #CitizenBear #SGF
  • Why it’s important to stand up against governmental attempts to suppress free speech. http://bit.ly/2mcnbrx #CitizenBear #SGF

Thursday, April 6

Friday, April 7

  • From @JDVance1: Why the American dream is no longer a sure thing for many Americans. http://bit.ly/2lP8A3C #CitizenBear #SGF

Sample Facebook posts

Pair either of these suggestions with a photo from the Facebook section.

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Do your part for web accessibility

In January 2017, the federal government released the Information and Communications Technology Final Standards and Guidelines. This rule requires that Missouri State complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA.

Why do these standards matter?

As an institution that receives federal funding, we must comply with these federal regulations. But more importantly, developing accessible content is the right thing to do.

It is essential that the Web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. Indeed, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes access to information and communications technologies, including the web, as a basic human right.

Accessibility supports social inclusion for people with disabilities as well as others, such as older people, people in rural areas, and people in developing countries.

– W3C

Also, following these guidelines can improve the search engine optimization of your website. Many of the accessibility techniques overlap with SEO best practices, so your website will be better understood by search engines and possibly ranked higher in search results.

What does this mean for me as a website developer?

If you’re using Web Press, then many of the accessibility checkpoints will be handled by the overall templates. However, you need to ensure that the content you add to your website is also accessible. Below are some key areas that you should review:

Write meaningful text alternatives

Each image on your website much have a meaningful text equivalent:

  • Describe the image (like you would to someone over the phone).
  • Describe the destination if the image is a link.
  • Use a space if the image is decorative.

In Web Press, you supply the alt text when you upload an image to the Asset Manager.

Remember that context is everything, so sometimes the same image will have different alternative text. Read the WebAIM Alternative Text article for guidance.

This principle also applies to audio and video: you must caption your video and provide transcripts for audio.

Structure content with ordered headings and lists

Use true headings (not bold or other styling) within your conent to break up blocks of text. This provides a way for everyone to more easily scan your content and find what they need.

Additionally, use lists to break up the text on your website. Not only do they help structure the distinct items, but they also can help highlight important content.

Use the format drop-down box in the Rich Text editor to denote headings.

Write link text that makes sense out of context and describes the destination

When you add links to your website content, the name of the link is critical. Try to describe the destination of the link; a user should know where the link goes without having to read the surrounding content for context. Also, avoid using generic labels like “learn more” or “click here” as they lack specificity.

Mark the headers of data tables

First, only use tables for data (like you would use in a spreadsheet). Do not use tables to lay out content; Web Press offers columns for design options.

Second, when you have a data table, ensure there are marked header rows that describe each column/row of content.

Set the Cell Type to Header on your data table headers.

Use color wisely

Make sure the color contrast of your text and the background are high to maximize readability. The accessibility guidelines require a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for more content. The only way to judge this is through a color contrast checker, where the two color values are compared.

Also don’t use color as the only way to convey information. Make sure the information is provided in another way, usually via text. The WebAim Color-blindness article provides some context and possible solutions.

What tools are available to assess website accessibilty?

There are many free tools that can help you improve the accessibility of your website:

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