Social skill: don’t make things gratuitously inaccessible

Often, people make choices that make things unusable by people with disabilities for no particularly good reason, when it would be just as easy to make them accessible.

It’s important to be mindful of this, and to consider whether you are doing this. I addressed this in terms of making a building accessible to wheelchair users

Today, I want to talk about some examples of gratuitous inaccessibility that are common on Tumblr (and the internet in general).

  • Posting quotes by typing some text into a graphics program, saving it as a graphic, and posting the quote as an image post 

This makes the quotes unreadable by anyone who is blind, can only read a narrow range of fonts, needs enlarged text, or uses a screen reader for any reason. Do not do this. If it is important to you to use a graphic for your text because the appearance of the text is very important to you, always also include the actual text.

 

  • Making asks rebloggable by taking a screenshot of the original ask, then posting it as a graphic. 

Don’t do this. Instead, copy and paste the original text and post it as a text post. If it is important to you to post the screenshot (perhaps because you’re worried that its authenticity might be disputed), also include the original text. It only takes a few seconds to paste in the original text, and doing so greatly expands the number of people who can read your post.

  • Using intensely flashy graphics when the flashing isn’t important to the message

For instance, posting a reaction gif that is the word “gpoy” flashing rapidly between blue and red text. Doing this is dangerous to people who have seizures or migraines provoked by flashing lights, and it doesn’t add anything to the conversation. Even when the graphics are properly tagged, it keeps people out of the conversation who could otherwise be part of it (since they have to block the whole thread once the flashing gif is in it and reblogged by people who comment on it). 

There are legitimate reasons to use flashing gifs sometimes, but they should not be inserted into formerly-accessible conversations.

  • Using flashing backgrounds or graphics as part of a theme

This makes your blog unreadable by people who are easily distracted, and dangerous or painful to people who have migraines or seizures triggered by flashing lights. Don’t do it. It makes your blog inaccessible and it doesn’t do anything good.