Alt text and screen readers

Image description: a green and white poster labelled ‘Designing for users of screen readers’. The poster is split in half with a list of Dos which reads; describe images and provide transcripts for videos; follow a linear logical layout; structure content using HTML5; build for keyboard use only; write descriptive links and headings. The ‘Don’t’ list reads: only show information in an image or video; spread content all over a page; rely on text size and placement for structure; force mouse or screen use; write uninformative links and headings

Lots of Autistic and / or Disabled people use screen readers to translate and process text and images on screens.

Many of these readers can translate emojis, but some older ones cannot. There can also be issues with reading intent from emojis if they are not labelled (as intent can also be something us Autistics struggle with). The 🙄 [eye roll emoji] can mean many things: not again, typical, can’t believe it, fed up etc. So sometimes a description in text makes for easier reading and understanding for everyone!

Alt text can be used within square brackets to describe what the emoji looks like or what its intent is. So for my most used emojis:

🤷 [shrug] [dunno]

🤣 [laughing] [crying laughing emoji] [lol]

👋 [waving hand] [wave hello] [hey]

Most screen readers cannot read images, so to keep things nice and accessible people use image descriptions (such as mine on the infographic above).

When tweeting, hashtags need to have a capital letter at the beginning of each new word otherwise it comes out as one garbled word.

Following these three simple rules can allow people to access information and engage in social media the same as every body else.

Please bare with me whilst I sort the accessibility of my page, I am totally new to website design but this is of upmost importance for me to learn.

My intention is not to shame people who forget or have issues doing this, I want to make a community where people can help and ask for help 🙂 [smile]. I am up to help others who I see making an effort.

I still can’t believe pages on Disabled and Neurodivergent experiences are still not adding alt text and image descriptions.

They can be simple and quick to do – I fully appreciate it won’t be for some: so ask for help from someone who is sighted / can read screens. This can just be a message on the post saying ‘Can someone help with ID please?’ There are some wonderful people out there who are willing to help.

When people continuously share images – and words with a coloured background – with no alt text or image descriptions, they are consistently telling blind, dyslexic and other people who use screen readers that they are not welcome on their page.

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