I figured I’d put a thing up about accessibility here. Info, whys, etc.
What is Accessibility, and why do we need it on tumblr?
Accessibility is how easily something is accessible. In a disability context, it’s making sure that you approach things with access for people in mind. There’s lots of ways to improve access for more people. You don’t have to do all of them, especially if it crates a barrier to your access because of your own issues, but you should do them if you can.
Access is important on tumblr because of the sort of communities and information sharing we have. We have a community with lots of awareness about Social Justice in some areas, as well as more recreational things like fandom stuff. We can share that information and fun with more people when we work towards access.
Also, people with disabilities face ableism, and access empowers us to take charge of our stories instead of allowing them to be co-opted by our families, our friends, or even the service professionals who deal with us.
Why do you include image descriptions? They are annoying!
The image descriptions aren’t there for people who don’t need them. They are there for people who might need them- the easiest examples are the Blind and those with visual impairments. But others might have difficulty making cognitive sense of certain types of images, or might not be able to look at certain types of images (epilepsy or other Neurological conditions). When you provide an image description, you let these people gain access to what you are sharing- wether it’s the drool worthy picture of David Tennant you reblog’d or a graph or poster on human rights.
I personally am more likely to reblog images that already have image descriptions. Why? Because my issues around being Autistic include some processing issues, as well as attention issues (both over focusing and under focusing), that make it a great effort that takes a lot of “spoons” for me. When other people use image descriptions, that makes sharing it with others accessible to me in addition to accessible to those with visual access issues.
How do I do an image description?
While there isn’t to my knowledge any one standard for image descriptions, describing the general appearance of the people or objects in the picture and anything that lets you “get” the image is needed. Especially any Text.
A good example of a standardized-ish image description is the ones that Privelege Denying Dude tumblrs use:
[Picture: Background: 8 piece pie style color split with red and teal alternating. Foreground: White guy with glasses and light shadow wearing a sweat shirt over a button down and short black hair. Has a smug, arrogant facial expression and crossed arms. Top text: “Disability”? Please” Bottom text: “I wear glasses, but that never stopped me”]
They even provide a pre-done form for it where all you do is add the text on the PDD submission page.
What other things can be done to grant access?
Some of them are really simple, like linking to a page in a descriptive way (“Nico’s tumblr”) rather than just saying “… you can see Nico’s Tumblr here.” Screen readers often read off the links on a page for a user, often only citing the actual Hypertext (link text).
One of the things that often takes too many spoons for me is trying to write in a way that is accessible to those with learning or intellectual disabilities. Writing in an 8th grade reading level makes it accessible to a lot of people with these disabilities. So does defining big words. I struggle with it because of how my brain processes language. I do make myself available (there’s discus commenting enabled on this tumblr) to elaborate.
Here you can find standards for cognitively accessible writing, from CripChick’s accessibility page.
If you have a video that isn’t captioned, and a transcript is available, either posting or linking to a transcript is a good idea for the Deaf and those who are hard of hearing or have Audio Processing Disorders. (This is why I prefer to link to youtube videos with the lyrics on them.)
If you make a video, there are tools to help you caption. Youtube as introduced auto captioning, where their system translates the audio into text. (You can ask them to do it on old videos by selecting “edit video”>”Captioning and Subtitles.” It isn’t perfect and might have some errors, so if you know how and it’s sensitive info you might want to caption it yourself. Youtube actually has links to both Youtube’s auto captioning, other captioning services, and some info on other options on their FAQ page, “Can I get help Captioning or Subtitling my videos?”
What the Hell are “Spoons”?
“Spoons” are stand ins for a measurement of energy a person with disabilities has. Here’s a longer description/explanation of Spoons.
Are Trigger Warnings a Part of Accessibility?
ABSOLUTLY. Trigger warnings allow those with lots of disabilities engage safely in our community.
Survivors of trauma can be triggered, and have flashbacks, difficulty with keeping healthy thought processes, or even physiological Reactions. They may have PTSD, Complex PTSD, or even PTSD-like reactions that some doctors might not want to diagnose for some reason. I personally have had a wide range of reactions, from collapsing and losing bladder control, getting the shakes or losing verbal ability to having otherwise non-triggery things trigger my anxiety because I don’t have the ability then to shield myself. While not all triggers can be predicted, putting up a trigger warning for discussion of violence and/or sexual assault and/or abuse is one of the best ways to improve access to survivors of trauma.
Those dealing with Depression and Anxiety might have similar reactions to certain stressful things. It might trigger a depressive episode or an Anxiety attack. Even thinking out the day or getting into a safe place might become impossible. Things that are very distressing, or talk/depict about suicide, should have trigger warnings.
Those dealing with or recovering/remissing from Eating Disorders could be triggered into relapse. Especially when we post about our own or other’s struggles with EDs, Body politics, or sizeism (Fat-hate OR Skinny-bitch-hate included!).
Some links to other posts about accessibility, please?
“I’ve never heard of an alt tag before and I’m not sure I really understand its function; so, what IS an alt tag?” by Edman (The guy who donated his image so that PDD would continue on.)
You missed/forgot/erased me or a certain thing or person!
Discus Comments are Enabled! Please let me know, and rec some resources on it if possible.