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.
I’d like to add: whenever possible, post transcripts of audio or video posts to make them accessible to d/Deaf bloggers.
And also, not just d/Deaf bloggers, but anyone who has trouble watching videos. I’m not d/Deaf but I *do* often find it difficult to watch videos and I really appreciate it when people include transcripts.
I do want to acknowledge though, that generating things like transcripts and image descriptions is usually dramatically more difficult than doing things like including already-existing text in a post. And I think that matters. (Especially since word-based communication tends to get privileged over image-based communication in ways that can prevent people who don’t naturally think in words from communicating).
I think it’s important for people to learn how to do universal design and make stuff accessible even when doing so is complicated, but that’s a different category than avoiding gratuitous inaccessibility. And I think it’s important not to conflate them too much, even though the boundary is somewhat fuzzy.
In cases where someone used a script to make a video, I think you’re absolutely right that not including it is the same as making an ask rebloggable by taking a screenshot. Thank you for pointing that out.