Fuck Yeah, Accessibility
Tips on *Writing* Image Descriptions

The purpose on an image description is to get across the same point that the image does. The point is not—necessarily—to literally describe everything that’s happening in the image.

My main blog’s theme puts a heart before the number of notes each post gets. If the theme’s developer were to ever get around to adding in alt text for the heart images (HA! ACCESSIBLE CODING! AS IF!), it would be silly to write “a small, stylized black heart.” Instead, they would probably write “note count.” Similarly, online textbooks that use signs like the caution symbol would do well to put “caution!” as the image text.

Of course, a lot of images on tumblr aren’t “functional” as much as they are decorative. If that’s the case, then it’s generally a good idea to summarize what makes the photo so breathtaking/funny/distinct/profound, and leave out the nonessential details. It’s important to replicate the meaning of the image, not necessarily the experience of seeing the image.

The above can be especially helpful for some people with learning/processing disabilities who still want to describe their images. Sometimes, I try to write a quick description and wind up cataloging dozens of little details that aren’t really all that interesting or important. Taking a step back (some tumblr-ites recommend switching tabs so that you don’t get caught up in all the little details) and focusing on what’s really important in the image can help you write an informative, but not too taxing, description.

And if you can’t, of course, then you can’t.

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