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Normal visitors don't see the alt text for some reason - even when mouse-overing (hovering over) the imagesYou may be confusing alt and title. What you see when hovering--over any element, including but not limited to images--is the <title>, not the <alt>. (Until a few years ago, one major browser intentionally confused the two, treating the alt as if it were a title, but I believe this has long since been regularized.) Normal visitors only see the <alt> if they don't see the image at all; that's what alt (= alternative) means.
so the only point in having Alt text is if it gives us any SEO advantage.Er, no. The point in having alt text is to make your site useful to visually impaired humans. Or, hypothetically, to humans using text-only browsers like Lynx, but you don't see a whole lot of those.
Would it be better to change it so say rainbow unicorn running, rainbow unicorn sleeping, rainbow unicorn babies, rainbow unicorn eating etc?
joined:Feb 24, 2018
I could be confusing <alt> with <title>
For best UX, title attributes should not repeat either anchor text nor alt text.I make an exception in the case of image-as-text--which, of course, should be used sparingly. For example if I've got an illustration of a book cover, the <alt> will say "cover image" with possibly a bit of description if there's a picture of something, and then the full text; the <title> will give only the text. Better to have double markedness with the chance of redundancy than have readers miss out on text.
Normal visitors don't see the alt text for some reason - even when mouse-overing (hovering over) the images - so the only point in having Alt text is if it gives us any SEO advantage.
For things like decorative dividing lines, I'll often use "----" or similar for the alt, so the appropriate information gets conveyed. Maybe let it look like the decoration: "x x x" or "-- O --" or whatever it may be.
I should think that if a screen reader can render "--" appropriately (which it pretty well has to do, to deal with the painfully many websites that haven't got the hang of — or —) it should have no particular trouble with "----".
I've never listened to a screen reader. What does is "say" when it sees "----"?