Writing Image Descriptions
I wish more people would try to write at least some of their own image descriptions for the pictures and images that they share.
Yes, blind people do use the Internet–I have literally known dozens of blind people who are using computers every day to do their jobs, including using the web. I have even known blind computer programmers and IT experts, including at least one who is deafblind (i.e., both deaf and blind). They way they do it is that they have software that can convert text into speech. (Or, for deafblind people, software can convert text into braille with the use of a braille output device that they connect to their computer. ) But this only helps for text that a computer will recognize as text. If you just have an image, including scanned images of text or text on top of gif images, then screen reading software will not help. But if people provide image descriptions, then that gives blind people another way to understand what the pictures show and what message people are meant to get from the pictures.
Image descriptions do not only help blind people. Some people need to turn off all images for various reasons – for example, people with photosensitive epilepsy are at risk of seizures if they see flashing light images, and turn off images to keep themselves safe. Some people have visual processing disorders, which means they can see things but the part of their brain that processes visual input and interprets it may not work properly so they may miss a lot of important detail unless someone helps point out key elements in the image.
Blind people often have a lot of frustration using the internet because, even though there is a lot of content perfectly accessible for them, there is also a lot of content they can’t see that doesn’t come with image descriptions. This is similar to the frustration that we deaf people feel when we come across a video we want to see but can’t, because the video doesn’t have captions to tell us what people are saying in the video.
I try to write image descriptions at my blog as much as feasible. But sometimes I see posts going around that I would really *like* to share, but I have to ignore them because I just don’t have time to keep writing image descriptions for every post I see that I would like to share. If more people wrote at least some of their own image descriptions then I could share more of their images with my followers.
I’m glad for blogs like @image-descriptions (which shares images with image descriptions) but wish it wasn’t so rare for people to write their own image descriptions.
Please consider adding image descriptions to at least some of the images that you post. Even if you might not have followers who need them, some of the people who reblog them from you might have blind followers or others who need them.