Hey . When you post pictures, please please please with puppies on top fill in that description box for the visually impaired. You will be helping us out tremendously. We want to enjoy your pictures as much as others do. You don't have to write a novel, but just fill in some details.

Thanks with much love:
A Blind Dude

@LiamErven thank you for this reminder. Apologies for failing to do this in the past.

@LiamErven Sorry that I have failed to do so in more than one occasion. It's not an excuse, but I hate to write image descriptions (or every just general long text) on my phone - which is currently my only way to take a photo and post it on mastodon . So I was wondering, is it ok for someone like you if the image description is added later as a reply to the original image toot?

@julloyart sure. I don't see why not. I know how frustrating it can be to have to type on one's phone. I have an iPhone, and typing is slow going.

Which screen reader do you use, if it's okay to ask? I'm curious; one of my partners teaches kids with visual impairments.

@thraeryn I use NVDA. And of course. It's totally okay to ask :)

@LiamErven Thank you for posting this. I have been adding descriptive text to most of my photos, but I was wondering if there was anyone out there who was actually reading it.

@LiamErven I try to do this, but I don't think I do this well. How can I do better?

@LiamErven so true, I've often forgotten to fill it... Thanks for reminding us of this important point

@LiamErven Would you mind answering a few questions about the accessibility of Mastodon as a whole? How easy is it to navigate? Do you use a screen-reader program like JAWS or something newer?

(I was involved in accessibility-related front-end web development years ago, and it's always been a pet focus of mine.)

@mdm It's not very hard to navigate. I use a screen reader, though I feel like it could use some better aria markup. It might make it easier to jump between toots. Overall it's not bad though.

@LiamErven That's good to hear! We didn't really focus on aria tags much in my last job -- most of the focus was on accessibility keys and good clean layouts.

@LiamErven thanks for the heads up, did not even notice the description box last time i posted. apologies =)

@LiamErven my tusky application doesn't provide clearly this behavior ...

@ebrulato @LiamErven in Tusky, you can tap an uploaded picture, then tap "set caption" to add a description.

@LiamErven I have a hard time figuring out what to say when it's art. do you have any suggestions on what to prioritize? i.e. subject > style > colors etc.

@renardroi Hmm. Not really sure. Subject is probably pretty important.

@LiamErven @b_cavello It's been amazing to me how much the small affordance in Mastodon to add a description to images has made my behavior more accessibility-friendly, and me more aware of accessibility in general.

@LiamErven Do you happen to be aware of any iOS apps that support adding a text description? I for sure want to do the right thing!

@erikvorhes I'm not sure. I haven't found any IOS apps that offer decent accessibility with Voiceover.

@LiamErven Bummer! If I come across any, I’ll share. Meanwhile, I’ll use the web UI if I’m sharing images.

@LiamErven description indicator is coming in the... next Tusky I think so maybe people will rememeber more often
(And I'm still annoyed that Pleroma puts filename in there)

@LiamErven @switchingsocial Here's an idea: Mastodon should, by default, have a modal dialog that takes you to each piece of media you’re trying to toot to enter a description if you haven’t already when you hit send. Why should accessibility be optional? It should be by default.

CC @Gargron @laura

@aral @LiamErven @switchingsocial @Gargron I don’t think forcing people will make them consider accessibility. You’ll just end up with people typing nonsense/empty spaces to make the dialog go away. I think the default of having the image description option there and visible when you add an image is an brilliant easy way to raise awareness of the possibility. More so, we just need to help people care about it, and write good descriptions.

@laura @aral @LiamErven @switchingsocial @Gargron Is it forcing or is it about ethical defaults? Currently we have inaccessible by default. Should images be accessible by default? (Same argument is used for privacy. Mozilla says Google is popular so it's the default but you have the choice to pick a private search engine so it's OK. Yet surveillance by default is the antithesis of private.) So how is inaccessible by default different? Surely accessible should mean ‘accessible by default’… no?

@aral @LiamErven @switchingsocial @Gargron it is accessible by default, the input is there by default. So you are opting out when you choose not to use it. If you were to make a toot not send unless you fill out that field, I can’t imagine the net effect would be beneficial? (Though that could be some kind of option you could enable to remind yourself to fill it out for your own toots?)

@laura @LiamErven @switchingsocial @Gargron Given @LiamErven is the one personally affected by this, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it if, you don’t mind sharing them. Liam, if you were designing/developing Mastodon, how would you design it?

@aral @laura @LiamErven @switchingsocial @Gargron We used to require alternative text in client projects and made sure to train clients on proper alt text. They still often got it wrong, we found “alternative” or “text” or “image” used as an alt text. Plus there are situations where an empty alt text is totally sufficient, for example tooting about a conference and have their logo as an image attached.

@aral Is Mozilla right in this? I have read that Google pays a sum in order to get it's search default.

@LiamErven I have a hard time finding the right balance between something too short that doesn't make sense and annoyingly verbose which takes ages to read out.

If you're interested and can spare the time, how would you improve my descriptions in this toot about cocktails?

Do they make sense to you? (I'm aware this may differ vastly depending on one's kind of impairment and if that existed from birth on or was acquired later in life.)


@LiamErven Oh I didn't even notice the field. Will do. Here I am sending a screenshot with a description :)

@LiamErven Hi Liam! I'm not fully blind but you're the second person with vision impairment I've met on the fediverse! Thanks for the reminder, I've posted images myself and will keep that in mind.

Good to find you here in the !fediverse Liam! And, yah, from another blind dude: a little description can go a long way!

@LiamErven I have to try to remember when openly replying to people where I know that they can see. Thanks for making me aware <3

I think this is also a good practice for everyone to get into for farming data to train image recognition software in the future!

@LiamErven hi Liam, I created a bot that reminds people. It's @PleaseCaption.

@LiamErven You might want to suggest people to follow @PleaseCaption - which then follows back and reminds people about images without description. Technical help to not forget it by accident. :)

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