Text In Images Is Invisible

by Elmer Boutin on January 28, 2010

Last April in my post “It’s Not Like Print” I addressed the subject of text embedding in Flash and images versus plain text on web pages. In short, I’m against it. I’m not against it for aesthetic reasons, but, rather because text embedded in Flash and images can’t be read by search engine spiders and thus makes your content invisible to them. If your site is invisible to search engine spiders, it’s not going to be indexed. If your site is not indexed it cannot be found by those searching for what you offer on your site.

In a recent post entitled “HTML Email + Alt Tags = More Bagels Sold” on his Marketing Tech Blog, Douglas Karr has taken this idea one step further by recommending the use of plain text in HTML emails.

Douglas shows quite plainly what an HTML email with text embedded in images looks like when the images are blocked, which is the norm for most email applications. It’s blank. He makes an excellent case which I think email marketers would be wise to consider.

One thing I would add to this lesson on “alt” tags: use them! In web pages this is especially important for accessibility by those with impaired vision. Images are invisible to screen readers used by those with limited or no sight and the “alt” tags are the means by which that content becomes usable to them.

Lastly, I’ve been following Douglas since I heard him speak at OMS in Austin last year. He’s a sharp guy and I recommend you follow his blog if you’re not doing so already.

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