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I was recently asked what an Accessibility Engineer does. This is a pretty common question, since accessibility hasn’t been as well defined as most IT roles. When I interview for positions, I sometimes shake my head at questions that feel like I’m taking a mid-term. I can only assume the person interviewing is attempting to assess my knowledge of issues in a manner that can easily be looked up and validated.

I've read many articles and posts on creating an effective alt attribute. How long should it be? When do you leave it blank (null)? Why is this so important?

Let's take a step back and look at the why of the alt attribute. Their only purpose is to provide information to blind users. All sighted users can see the image and do not rely on a text description in order to understand an image. So all we are concerned with here is the blind user using a screen reader to access the content of the page.