That’s a mouthful of big words for the title of this post, yet it’s worth doing a post about. Inclusion, accessibility and diversity are three words that the mainstream likes to talk about a lot, especially when it comes to showing how good your company or service or government is in being equal, open, supportive, and for lack of better word – accessible – to all users and consumers. But since it’s something I only seem to notice on the sites of bigger companies and agencies that work with state or have a specific disability or other “mandated interest” in being inclusive (always of specific kinds of inclusion), it’s lovely to notice when it’s smaller companies, bloggers and other net users just being in general, thinking correctly.
Often the accessibility can be in little things. If your menu and navigation works (at all) with screenreaders, if your links have meaningful texts (other than “click here” or “read more”) you’re to a good start. If your company sends marketing or informative emails, don’t compose those of images only. Some of us don’t see the images, and too often there is no text added to those. So “image” “image” “image” “image” “image” is not very helpful when you wanted to communicate something else (“now sale, 20% off if you use coupon code Blahblah20” or “new spring dresses just added to our store”). So ditch those, and compose the text. Oh, and “trouble viewing this email? click here” – you bet. I can only hope there will be actual text in that link, not just more “image” “image” “link” “image” “link”.
But back to the bloggers. While humans are so visually wired, and blogs seem to get more visual and full of fancy pictures and usually not much descriptions of those, I love when bloggers do it right. Many autistic writers are good on this, and there are many with other disabilities too who realize the importance. A good description doesn’t have to be long, but it should tell the point. What is tried to be shown there? “Cute puppy looking at the camera, with a text saying happpy monday below”. Just describe the point. While I love often the brevity (think of the text under the illustrations in study books), for personal blogs longer, more fancy descriptions can feel nice too. And personally, I don’t care whether someone does it with the “Correct” way (putting the long descriptions under correct hidden tags etc) or just adds the information elsewhere, as long as it’s there it’s all good. And this is where I love how many Aspies and other autistic writers: they get it. If you add pictures to your post with the point to illustrate something, then describe it.
There is a huge art of describing images (I’ll get more into that in future posts), but if you’ve got a blog and are wondering how to get started and what’s the point again: how would you describe that picture to someone blind? Add as little or as much as you want. The same goes for Facebook and other medias. “I and M tested some really nice artisan whiskeys at Somepub” would be a good description of photos of tasting the whiskeys for instance.
Maybe the importance of descriptions can be better illustrated with a comparison. If you see some text in Chinese, you might recognize it’s text in Chinese or some other similar language, but from just seeing the text, unless you know how to read or decipher Chinese, it’s just some writing in a language you don’t understand. Pretty much the same when you don’t have much usable sight and get shown a photograph. Um, it’s a photo, that’s about it. Who is in the picture? Where is it, what’s happening in it and so on. Just knowing what it is but not having any details of what you’re looking at is not always very helpful.