Since @lrhodes just recently suggested that there should be a feature to hide inaccessible posts, and @gemlog reminded me today that folks might not even realize their names and toots might be hard for some people to read unless they are told, I guess it is my duty now to write another round of educational posts.
Hmm, this isn't really my area of expertise ... maybe I should just go find some old one and reboost?
Nah, let's do this.
In this thread, I'll list a couple suggestions for adjustments you can do to help out people who are , , or those who for other reasons use a . Boosts appreciated!
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But before I start:
If you can't do these things, that's fine. It is not my intention to bash other disabilities. The ways our lives suck are different, but we still should get along. You all are, after all, awesome people!
And if you just don't feel like doing them, that's OK. We are used to it. :)
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1. Images
Some people on the Fedi can't see your memes, doggos, flowers, art. That doesn't mean we wouldn't want to enjoy them.
There are also those who have to browse on data, and turned loading images off to save it. Those things eat up quite a bit of bandwidth!
And there are those who have trouble figuring out what they are looking at. Maybe because of the way their brain works, maybe because your image isn't clear to everyone.
You can help all of those by writing a caption for your image.
It doesn't need to be an essay. Even just a few words will do. Enough to explain the joke, or the cute pose your kitten is making. Don't worry about it; just write something!
If you have trouble remembering to do so, and would like a reminder, follow @PleaseCaption
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2. Emojis
Emojis are a wonderful invention! They help us humans, emotional as we normally are, express those emotions in places where voice tone and facial expressions aren't available. Much better than trying to put those feelings into words, right?
Well, people using a screen reader (a software that allows people, primarily visually impaired ones, to read what is on the screen using text to speech) still hear those emojis as words.
For example, 😉 is read as "graphic Winking Face", with graphic of course explaining what kind of element it is.
And by default for most screen readers, each graphic is on its own line.
So, what this means is that if you put 3 emojis in your name, your name will be 4 lines long to us. I know some of you like having emojis in your name, but if you could at least limit them to <=3, that'd be lovely.
And if you put a clapping emoji after every word, they'll be on separate lines, too. So maybe don't do that either? 🤷‍♀️
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3. "Unusual" Symbols
Unusual is in quotation marks because, with us coming from all around the world, of course not everyone will use the same letters, and they are all equally valid. Hell, Slovenian has 3: č, š and ž.
There are also fancier characters, for when someone wants to look cooler by bending Unicode to their will.
Just keep in mind that screen readers are not well-equipped to deal with those sorts of characters. It also depends on the TTS engine and language; for example, English eSpeak reads all Chinese letters as "Chinese letter", which is not ideal.
More examples:
ὴ =Letter 1 F 7 4
ž =z hatchek, though many other TTS voices read it as just z, or not at all.
𝚊 =Letter 1 6 8 A
And so on.
So, while it is not a must, if you could use less of such characters in your nickname when possible, and CW posts consisting only of those, that would be great, too!
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Oh, right! Almost forgot.
If you have any questions, ask them, and I'll do my best.
If you are curious how a particular emoji or symbol is read, send it, and I'll tel you. I can check with eSpeak, which is the default TTS engine for NVDA, as well as Microsoft's voices and a few others.
And also: Thank you. Both for reading this far, and if it makes you change anything. 💙
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@Mayana If I can add?

This isn't JUST for social media. If you have a website/webpages/write books that are available in e-format, etc this all applies.

I have a kid who frequently uses screen readers for school reading assignments and assignments with lots of graphics in them tend to be an absolute pain bc the text is ALWAYS referencing the map/picture/chart/thing, but the screen reader has no reference/info for the graphic and it makes the reading impossible.

@jessmahler Yes, definitely! Accessibility doesn't apply just to Mastodon, or just to social media. Image descriptions especially should be provided wherever that is possible. We need more of those!
Thank you for your thoughts. I am just one person and only thought of a few things, so additions from others are more than welcome.

@Mayana @jessmahler Random question on this – on websites, the code for images can include both a title field and an alt field. How do screen readers parse those? Do they read both?

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@InvaderXan I don't usually check the code of websites, so can't be sure if I've encountered any images like that. It'd be easiest if you could send me an example. But I'd say that if provided, most screen readers would choose alt text over title.
Although now that I think about it, I did see an option regarding that in the settings of JAWS, about what should be given priority. But JAWS is an expensive piece of shit that doesn't deserve the users it has.
@jessmahler

@Mayana @jessmahler Got it 😂 I don't have any examples to hand right now though. When I have the time to set it up though, maybe we could do an experiment!

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