Today’s brickbat has been thoroughly earned by clicktivist campaign group GetUp! with their latest email campaign. The information about the campaign was conveyed as a series of images of text.
The alt tags to the images were as follows:
“Try turning on images”
If you are a GetUp! subscriber who can’t see, that information was what your screen reader would read to you. This is very obviously poor practice, it goes against all documented and long-standing guidelines on how to use alt text, and (leaving aside all the other reasons someone might have images off) it is a giant middle-finger “screw-you” to your blind subscribers.
I have a few suggestions:
* If you’re going to get a job in social media activism, go learn about accessibility. W3C’s Intro to Web Accessibility is one place to start. It could save you from showing your arse.
* GetUp!: make knowledge about accessibility part of your job application criteria, and deepening of that knowledge part of your training process.
* GetUp!: when your email list subscribers send you email about an accessibility issue, and post on your Facebook wall about an accessibility issue, don’t studiously ignore them. This compounds your arse-showing mightily.
* Other people involved in any sort of blogging and social media: take a moment to learn about describing images, either in alt text or (for example on FB and tumblr) in the body of your post. Always think before sharing text as images, and if you do end up doing that, please copy-paste or transcribe the entire text for those who cannot see the image.
Categories: disability, Politics
Gods almighty. I’m not fond of GetUp! at the best of times (I have limited patience for clicktivism, since I don’t feel it actually accomplishes much at best, and at worst can impede actual useful activity) but a screw-up of these dimensions just leaves me feeling they’re trying to lose friends and not influence people. No. Just no.
One hopes their publicists are busy explaining the point of activism to the staff using small words and short sentences, before going off to weep into their beer.
(Hope this is not too OT.)
(Still) images aren’t the only problem.
Animated images are bad even for people who can see perfectly well. Animated images confuse my visual perceptions to the point that I can’t see anything but the fact that something is moving. (Fortunately, I don’t get seizures from them like some people do.) advocate.com has started animating the images on its site, and it’s driving me crazy. Evidently I’m not alone, because some discussion websites I frequent have explicitly banned animated images.
Videos are an even bigger problem for me: for some reason, they trigger a stress/anxiety reaction in me. These days, a lot of bloggers put up posts that consist of a video link and “look at this video.” Some people who post videos also post transcripts, for which I’m always very grateful. (everydayfeminism.com, Rebecca Watson, Zinnia Jones.) Unless I’m required to (e.g., my employer says I have to and has some way of monitoring whether I have), I skip them. There are a few on-line retailers that have set up their website so you can’t get in to order stuff until you’ve watched their video. As far as I am concerned, there’s nothing being sold on-line that is worth torturing myself with an on-line video.