Why do we need alt-text for Text Frames in InDesign CS5.5?


Last week I wrote about the supercool Object Export Options, and how you can apply Alt-Text to different objects.

I had several people asking me why on earth do we need Alt-text for text frames? It’s already text, isn’t it? So I asked the product team, and this is what I learned.

Rasterize Text Frames to preserve styles, effects, and fonts

Rasterize Text Frames to preserve styles, effects, and fonts

Imagine a text frame for display type like a headline, with a bevel-emboss and drop shadow effect. In order to preserve this appearance in an HTML and EPUB export, you will need to apply custom image conversion settings (Object > Object Export Options > EPUB & HTML). In InDesign, it is still a text frame, but the resulting “image” in HTML/EPUB would need to have Alt-Text applied to describe the text that is rasterized in the export process.

You could also use it if you want to rasterize some text because you want to keep the styling/font intact. For example, a font which ePub is incapable of rendering which may be part of a logo, caption or larger design. In these cases it makes sense to first rasterize that text, and then apply some Alt-Text so when the ePub or HTML is “read aloud” then it can actually read out some text to go with what is now a raster.

Can you think of something else? Share it with us, post a comment below.

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  1. #1 by Michelle on May 19, 2011 - 11:32 pm

    This comment isn’t even about the blog! I have searched everywhere on the site to just send an email to ask a question! There is no way to just ask a question by sending an email to Adobe?!

    • #2 by Vikrant on May 20, 2011 - 11:15 am

      Hi Michelle,
      You can use various official channels to get in touch with Adobe. Most of them are listed here: http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/contact.html. All communication is filtered, and sent to the most appropriate person.

      We also actively follow activity on our blogs, forums etc, so if you post a question there, the person most qualified to answer will usually respond.
      For example, if you have a question about InDesign or Illustrator, you can post your question here, and if am unqualified to answer your question, I’ll try and get the most appropriate person to answer.

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