Why Use Image Descriptions ?

There are many reasons and they all boil down to accessibility for everyone. It’s massively helpful for those of us who are disabled, and has the added benefit of being helpful for those who aren’t.

- Allows screen readers and verbal descriptions for the blind and visually impaired.

- Transcripts of videos that allow the deaf, hard of hearing, or those with audio processing problems to follow along by reading rather than or in conjunction with listening.

- Lets people know what the picture/screencap/video/gif is if it does not load or are on limited internet.

- Helps those with visual processing issues process the image.

- Gives autistics and people with problems reading facial expressions,emotions, and other non-verbal cues a helpful way to tell what’s going on in the picture/video/gif.

- Typed transcripts are often easier to read than screenshots (which are sometimes impossible to read).

- Audio transcripts are useful for people who can’t play sound from their device.

- Allows for blacklisting software to work more effectively. If an image description is included for a gif, picture, or screenshot then the words are already included in the body of the post and it is more likely to be screened by the software for people who need it.

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.

Here’s some things I do when I don’t have energy or forget to eat. This is what helps me, so please keep in mind that it might not work for you.

1) Set reminders! I forget lunch the most, so I have a reminder on my phone at around noon each day telling me to eat lunch. Add as many as you need.

2) For days when you can’t get out of bed, keep some nonperishable food in your room if you can. I have a plastic container near my bed so I can easily reach it without getting up.

  • Mine has granola bars, crackers, fruit snacks, fruit cups, trail mix, jerky, and bottled water. It’s not a “normal” meal, but much better than nothing and requires almost no energy.

3) Break down tasks into very small steps. Sometimes mine are as small as “Sit up in bed, move feet onto floor, stand up, walk out of room, walk down hallway, walk to kitchen”. I give myself time in between steps to build up motivation if I need to.

  • Make a checklist if you need to visualize it!

4) Congratulate yourself after completing a difficult step. Even if it’s a simple step, or after every step. It seemed silly to congratulate myself for getting out of bed, but it really helps motivate me to continue.

  • My internal dialogue for this is something like “Okay you did it! That wasn’t too bad. Now you can do the next step too” or “If that was the hardest part, I can do this”

5) I go to @lowspoonsgourmet when I don’t know what to make and they organize recipes by how many spoons it requires!

  • @no-more-ramen is another good one and separates recipes into categories like if there’s no chopping involved or if it makes leftovers

I think that’s it? I might add to this if I think of more. I hope this was helpful!


#DisabledYoutuber Andrea Lausell on what image descriptions are and why you should use them

[Image description] A piece of paper with the words “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning and Asexual” typed in rainbow letters. The background of the image is a photo of a sunny sky with several clouds in it. [End image description] 

This is something that I got from my university’s Queer Club (and, yes, that is the name). Notice that part right at the end? Asexual? Guess what? They’re included in the community. They’re not excluded, hated, belittled, or attacked. 

They’re accepted and supported. This shows that the discourse about whether aces are LGBT or not is almost certainly restricted only to online communities. And, even then, it seems largely focused on Tumblr. 

The exclusion of ace people does not occur offline. And if it does happen somewhere, those people who exclude aces are assholes.


Please read this post before you decide to respond to this with discourse.


[Image description, a series of tweets by Carolyn Wilke‏ that read: Men blithely say these things like it’s EASY to build a game that no one will invest in without proven $$ returns. "There should be one league!“ Well, for a long time there was. Didn’t see the NHL investing much in that, either. Like, the NWHL didn’t exist before 2015. Where were all the NHL adds for the CWHL? It’s actually more likely that having two leagues has pushed the debate about investments in Women’s Hockey. Anyway, Put Up or Shut Up, dudes with opinions on how to grow women’s hockey.] 

bunnychickaturduck  asked:

Why does this bot think there are clocks in every picture

(This is a post by a moderator, not the bot! We want to bring you the Science!)

This is an AI phenomenon called overfitting.  The sample data used to train an AI and the problems it will see in the real world will seldom match exactly. In this case, picdescbot was trained on an image collection with descriptions provided by Microsoft, and is describing images pulled from Wikimedia Commons. We can infer that the Microsoft collection has a lot of images labeled “clock” and “giraffe” because picdescbot seems to “hallucinate” those specific things over and over. It’s been trained to expect that those objects are everywhere! In particular it seems to think almost everything round is a clock.

Human toddlers do the same thing – for example thinking that every animal is a cat or dog – but they quickly outgrow it. And that’s why you’re smarter than a robot. For now.

[Image Description: A black Bingo card with white writing. The card is titled “Nonblack Kpop Fan Bingo”. The squares contain things that nonblack kpop fans say and/or do to protect their favourite groups and idols that have said and done antiblack things. The card reads as follows:

“Square 1: Someone uses the term “the race card”

Square 2: “Educate! Don’t hate!”

Square 3: “Stop sending [insert idol here] death threats!”

Square 4: “They didn’t mean it!”

Square 5: FREE SPACE

Square 6: “#[insert idol here] protection squad!”

Square 7: Accusing black fans of being too angry

Square 8: “You’re overreacting! It’s not that bad!”

Square 9: Expecting black fans to accept a half assed apology”]

I did a thing! 

[image description: a graphic featuring text laid over two boxes of different shades of blue.

the first box is smaller and contains two headings, “So your buddy’‘s disabled:” followed by “How Can I Help?” in quotation marks.

the second box is larger and contains a list of five subheadings and descriptions, which are as follows:

1. Pity parties are boring. I don’t need you to tell me how awful my life must be or how sorry you are that I have to deal with it. I don’t care. I’m doing exactly the same as everyone else - managing with what I’ve got.

2. Don’t assume I’m incapable. I can still open doors for myself and hold a conversation. Even with a crutch. Blind-blowing, I know. It’s frankly a little insulting how quickly people will rush to ‘help’ me when I’m using a mobility aide. If you’re not sure, then ask first! Or alternatively, wait for me to ask you.

3. Let me grab you on the stairs. Stairs fuckin’ suck and I may have to grab something very quickly in order to avoid collapsing. Sometimes that something may be you and I am always very grateful for your presence in this situation.

4. Meet in accessible spaces. If you choose to sit somewhere I can’t get to, i.e. upstairs, then I’m left with three options: a) I kick up a fuss and make you move, b) I get hurt by forcing myself to join you, or c) I sit on my own. None of these options are ideal for any of us but they could all be avoided if you’d sat somewhere else.

5. Listen to me. My condition and how I’m feeling with it changes from day to day, and what was fine yesterday might not be today. I will always try my best to communicate what I can and can’t manage; all you need to do is keep an open mind and listen to what I’m telling you.]

Not all of these points will apply to everyone with a disability, but certainly the 1st, 2nd and 5th should apply to almost everyone. I often find that nobody really knows what to do when they discover that I’m disabled, and I’m often asked “how can I help?” but never have much of an answer, so I finally thought I’d put together a masterlist for my friends to take a look at.