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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

An ALT-ernate Accessibility Strategy

Finalist in Copywriting


Accessibility is a core tenant of our social media presence, and alt text is an important piece in supporting that effort. Ensuring those that rely on screen readers don’t feel excluded from the World of Warcraft (WoW) conversation is a critical priority.

Unfortunately, alt text can often feel clinical and utilitarian. Prioritizing dry accuracy can sometimes come at the cost of sacrificing the intent of the image, particularly in the realms of nuanced humor. The WoW social team leans heavily on subtle references and humor, so this outdated writing style didn’t sit well with us.

We posed a challenge to our copywriters: How can we use text to effectively harness the emotional intent of an asset for those that rely on screen readers?

Strategy and Execution

Our goal was clear: Create alt text that translates the visuals of an image successfully with text; that articulates the humor, Easter eggs, and all other subtleties present in the visual design. We needed to maintain accessibility with accuracy, but creatively adapt descriptions to preserve and perhaps even enhance the message of the image.

Our copywriters began by analyzing the intent of an image and noting what struck them first. We then crafted text from that point of impact, expanding outwards. In cases where the visual humor of an asset was challenging to describe accurately, we used creative copy structure and experimental styles that effectively channeled that intent. 

WoW social content often includes Easter eggs or references that are intended for our most hardcore fans to find and share with others. This doesn’t always translate well to alt text as we don’t necessarily want to draw attention to a hidden element. Preserving that sense of discovery was important. 

To achieve this, we included referential descriptions that rewarded those who read the alt text closely. Instead of aiming for unflinching accuracy, we prioritized emulating the emotional experience of viewing the asset.


After executing on this stylistic refresh, we quickly received positive feedback. Even some audience members not using a screen reader commented on the improved alt text, which was a most welcome acknowledgement of our efforts. We regularly received replies letting us know how the thoughtful alt text enhanced the post. 

Internally, the creation of alt text evolved from an important responsibility to an exciting new creative outlet and a novel opportunity to earn additional engagement while also providing a valuable service to our community. By transforming our alt text, we amplified the impact of our images while furthering audience inclusivity in the process. 

The high volume of positive audience feedback was a clear sign we had achieved our goal. Alt text has always been important, but expanding its purpose beyond a service and into a new avenue for written expression and audience engagement has been a remarkable success.

A true win-win for everyone.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Blizzard Entertainment


Entry Credits