I have encountered more image descriptions on Mastodon in 24 hours than I have in Twitter in a couple of years. Seriously. I'm not exaggerating.
As a blind person, this means a lot to me. If you read this and you describe your images, thank you so, so, so much on behalf of all of us. If you don't, now you know you'll be helping random Internet strangers make sense of your posts by typing in a few more words than usual.
@Leftcel_Infilitrator Thanks for asking! Pinafore seems to just give you an edit field to type in a description when you upload any kind of media, but I am not sure how other clients do this.
long-ish (~1400 chars) post about hashtags on Mastodon, and accessibility.
Hashtags on Mastodon are primarily used for content discovery. Most servers/instances only allow you to search for toots by hashtags as search for any text in the message (often referred to as 'full-text search') is resource intensive.
So, if you want people to find your messages while searching for a specific topic, having the right hashtags in your message is often the only way. Not just for finding other people's messages, but also finding back an earlier status you posted yourself.
What can help people with screenreaders when it comes to hashtags, is to capitalise ever word in compound hashtags; also referred to as camel-casing. For instance, rather than #accessibilitytips, write #AccessibilityTips, as some (most?) screenreaders will use that as a word-boundary hint, and thus allow them to pronounce the hashtag as individual words.
Whether to use inline hashtags, replacing the actual word, or to list them all at the bottom of your post, is a personal preference from what I understood.
If you use a lot of hashtags, I assume a summary at the end rather than inline is probably better, but since I don't use a screenreader myself, I'll defer to the expertise of those that actually do use them.
@guilevi Thanks for mentioning this. I have never thought about it how important picture descriptions can be.
I will take care about that in the future for everything I publish.
@guilevi Yes yes yes! Image descriptions are a blessing!
I've described every image on my account, and Image descriptions are required by rule on RaRu.Re !!
Actually I don't put description on the images I toot there, usually because they're just funny ones and it stops being funny if it has to be described/explained so the extra work seems pointless to me.
Would you consider that acceptable ? When do you believe it is important to describe images ?
@lienrag It is not acceptable to not describe images of jokes. It excludes people.
This is a general problem: Abled people don't expect disabled people to participate in jokes and memes and shitposts, but we do. We don't want to be excluded from fun stuff our friends/peers are doing.
It doesn't ruin the joke to explain it; anyone who doesn't need/want to look at the description won't.
But even if it did, people matter more than jokes.
That appears to be true for the default settings, but I turned off automatic loading of images on my first day here, so I too see the image descriptions at first. Yes, that means I have to click on each image to see them, but it also means that nobody who's peeking over my shoulder sees NSFW images when I open the federated timeline.
(Spending time with family this week; a lot of people around all over the house).
@efi TTS won't help you much here. It does what it says on the tin, it reads out text. What you write is what we hear. :)
@guilevi I could make it so there's aria hints for different parts of the site, better timings and intonation, right now toots have a single aria tag iirc
@efi There's no way to directly affect most screenreaders universally. Most of the time we just want our text read concisely and as is. I can definitely try to help you set up some accessibility software for testing, though it's likely that your OS has some built in.
@guilevi I remember when I first got here how freaking blown away I was by that. It was such a weird novelty. But I’ve been here awhile now. Just wait, you’ll get so used to it in time you won’t blink anymore. It’s wild.
@guilevi Glad I am able to help. Do you have any tips or comments regarding image descriptions? like what is something people often forget to describe or describe inadequately?
@CanisMajoris There's no right or wrong way to do it really. It's all dependent on context. If you want people to absorb every detail, write detailed descriptions. If the point of the image in the context of the toot can be made clear with a concise one-liner, that's completely fine as well.
@guilevi For some of my comics instead of a image description I wrote it into a written version of the story. Is this a thing more people do? Because I think that's more enjoyable to read? But may be a bit long since the word limit for image descriptions is quite long, haha.
@guilevi and the pro aspect of image descriptions, you can add additional information over the default 500 character limit of mastodon ;-)
@guilevi I don't post many images, but when I do I always try to add a description. I never did it on the birdsite, I admit. I didn't even know it could be done
@sabrinaweb71 Thank you! Yeah, it's been a feature for a while, but many more people use it here than there.
@guilevi thanks for offering your perspective in these replies. I'm always looking for blind people's perspectives, thanks for being open to answering questions!
That's all lol. I have several videos saved on YouTube to explain how blind people navigate the internet, but being able to ask questions one on one is great! I know it's a bit annoying to explain how you navigate the internet without sight. Thanks for letting us seeing ppl ask and learn. :)
@guilevi knowing that this system is working and able to provide you with an accessible experience is so heartening. thank you so much for sharing this! I'm really glad that it's been such a benefit.
@guilevi I enjoy writing the image descriptions. I'm happy to help out those that need it and it's also like a fun little easter egg to those that don't and take the time to read the image description. Sometimes there's even a little more detail or a silly joke or something that isn't in the main post.
@guilevi I'm also a blind person, and very-much appreciate the image descriptions! Twitter and Facebook are sadly lacking in this. The nags, on these platforms, aren't helping.
@guilevi I've tried to describe most of the images that I post. I know people who will refuse to boost an image post if the image doesn't have a description.
@TerrorBite Thank you! I would most likely not boost a post without an image description, but that might possibly be because I wouldn't know what the image could be in the first place. :D
@guilevi As an artist, I found that I often have an extra layer of fun trying to describe what the hell I just drew, it can actually be hard sometimes :D
@Ayior I'm guessing it must be harder for stuff you drew yourself, especially if it's somewhat abstract. Sounds like a fun challenge though! :)
@guilevi ah nice. some clients have the option to basically nag you if you don't add alt text to image attachments. I have that turned on in my clients of course!
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