There were a few requests to make this rebloggable, so here you are friends.i wanted to ask about image descriptions. i have my own visual impairments but i can usually get by with larger text and changing the colors of text and backgrounds to make them legible for me. i don’t use a screen reader, but i do still use image descriptions for images with text that i can’t read otherwise. i don’t know what image descriptions that are posted in the text of a post sound like through screen readers. is it better to use alt text or do descriptions in the text work as well?
What a great question!
Whenever possible, you want to use alt text. When you blog an image and there is no alt text, a screen reader will read the url (the url where the image is stored). This can be jarring and if that url is incredibly long, really annoying. Alt text allows those using screen readers to hear a description of the image rather than the url. Please, keep it short. You don’t want several sentences. If you need more description, use an image description below the image. That said, we appreciate alt text!
Sadly, as of right now you cannot add alt text to an image you are re-blogging on tumblr. In this case, go ahead and put the information in the text directly below the image. This is also good practice in general, as you pointed out.
This tumblr post breaks down the conventions really well.
Another thing to keep in mind are links within your text. Hyperlinks are wonderful because they streamline your writing. They are also a nightmare for screen readers because screen readers read the url unless instructed otherwise.
For example, if you want to tell someone about a new tumblr about ableism you might use a hyperlink rather than type out the address. When you add that hyperlink, make sure you add a title that includes the words from the sentence and some indication that it is a link. Hover your mouse over the example hyperlink above to see one possible format.
Why? If you don’t, my screen reader will tell me the following: If you want to tell someone about http://blindjewwanderinginthedesert.tumblr.com/ you might use a hyperlink. In this case, it sort of works. In most cases, it doesn’t and individuals using screen readers are completely lost.
It takes a second or two, but I go back through and add this text to posts I am re-blogging as well.
I hope this answers your question and thank you for making your tumblr a more accessible place!