Alt text preferences - How can we improve?

We've been making books and we would like to hear how accessible they are from your perspective, and what we can do differently to make them better.
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Alt text preferences - How can we improve?

Post by
jennlortie
»
Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:48 pm
I'm really interested to learn more about how we can improve our alt text in books.

I'm never sure if I'm doing a good job with it, and there are so many different recommendations in the articles I've read online. Some people seem to prefer very brief alt text, while others prefer detailed alt text. What do you prefer? Does it depend on the context?

Usually, I think about the audience, and sometimes I try to mimic the detail and the language from the book itself. For example, if I'm producing a children's book, I'll try to simplify my word choices.

Do you have any pet peeves, criticisms, or any comments about alt text that you think might help us improve?

For example, I'm wondering if the only images within a book are black and white photographs, is it preferred that the alt text say "A black and white photograph of..." at the beginning, or is it preferred that we do not include this for every image?

Here's some alt text I've written:
  • From "Mr. Hockey" by Gordie Howe
    Photo of Gordie alt text: A colour photograph of Gordie standing in front of a hockey net in front of a large outdoor area of ice. There are trees in the background. Gordie is wearing a black parka with a grey fur hood and a red Red Wings baseball cap. He is smiling for the camera.

    From "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis
    Map of Narnia alt text: A map of Narnia and the surrounding countries. The map depicts the eastern coast of the Great Eastern Ocean. Narnia is in the North, resting just south of the Wild Lands of the North. The seven isles are just east of the Wild Lands of the North. Ettinsmoor is in the mountains north of Narnia. Aslan's How is inland from Cair Paravel which is on the coast of The Bight of Caloralen. The islands of Galma and Terebinthia lie within the Bight of Caloralen. To the south lies the lands of Archenland and over a mountain range south of this is a desert and Calormen where the Tombs and Tashbaan lie, close to the southeastern shores. Off of the peninsula east of Calormen lie the Lone Islands.

    Drawing of Lucy and Mr. Tumnus alt text: A drawing of Lucy walking away with Mr. Tumnus. Mr. Tumnus is holding a black umbrella over their heads and they are walking through the snowy woods, surrounded by tall snow-covered trees.

    From "The Great Leveler" by Walter Scheidel
    Line graph alt text: A line graph depicting the rise of inequality between 1500 and 1800 in Piedmont (.62 to .78), Tuscany (0.65 to .85), Apulia (0.74 to 0.81), Northern Low Countries (0.5 to 0.625), and Southern Low Countries (0.525 to 0.58).
Thanks so much for your input!
jennlortie
Posts:32
Joined:Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:35 pm
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Re: Alt text preferences - How can we improve?

Post by
ryano
»
Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:57 pm
Just a thought for picture as I like what Jenn do if there is any picture or video I will recommend transcript of describe of what picture or video is in text because that what we do with facebook post in DeafBlind community because some are unable to see video or picture clearly or are braille user so will be better to have text transcript of the describe of pictures.

Maybe do survey on what kind of font sizes best match everyone's need then use this fonts.

For book maybe set up five different color background that match everyone's visual.

contract mean normal color.

white background with black text
black background with white text.
black background with yellow text.
Navy blue background with white text
Navy blue background with yellow text

Those are good colors that most people will prefer based on their vision.

Most DeafBlind will pick Navy blue with yellow text or white, same with black more easy to read. Avoid bright colors.

Maybe 20 text font will be good text but everyone different so better have something that people can change text font on their own.
ryano
Posts:25
Joined:Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:17 am
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Re: Alt text preferences - How can we improve?

Post by
Daniella.LP
»
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:55 am
I appreciate the alt text and the descriptions. The example you provided here with the map of Narnia is wonderful. Writing them with the audience in mind makes a lot of sense. In the case of the book Stella the Unrepentant Madam, I noticed the emphasis in describing the outfits, which makes a lot of sense in the context of the book, it adds to the experience. For people who can see colour, or who have a memory of it, I'd say that including colours is definitely important (although for some readers it may be unnecessary). And yes, if all the pictures in a book are in black and white, maybe mention that at the beginning with the first description, to avoid repeating it in other descriptions later.

jennlortie wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:48 pm
I'm really interested to learn more about how we can improve our alt text in books.

I'm never sure if I'm doing a good job with it, and there are so many different recommendations in the articles I've read online. Some people seem to prefer very brief alt text, while others prefer detailed alt text. What do you prefer? Does it depend on the context?

Usually, I think about the audience, and sometimes I try to mimic the detail and the language from the book itself. For example, if I'm producing a children's book, I'll try to simplify my word choices.

Do you have any pet peeves, criticisms, or any comments about alt text that you think might help us improve?

For example, I'm wondering if the only images within a book are black and white photographs, is it preferred that the alt text say "A black and white photograph of..." at the beginning, or is it preferred that we do not include this for every image?

Here's some alt text I've written:
  • From "Mr. Hockey" by Gordie Howe
    Photo of Gordie alt text: A colour photograph of Gordie standing in front of a hockey net in front of a large outdoor area of ice. There are trees in the background. Gordie is wearing a black parka with a grey fur hood and a red Red Wings baseball cap. He is smiling for the camera.

    From "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis
    Map of Narnia alt text: A map of Narnia and the surrounding countries. The map depicts the eastern coast of the Great Eastern Ocean. Narnia is in the North, resting just south of the Wild Lands of the North. The seven isles are just east of the Wild Lands of the North. Ettinsmoor is in the mountains north of Narnia. Aslan's How is inland from Cair Paravel which is on the coast of The Bight of Caloralen. The islands of Galma and Terebinthia lie within the Bight of Caloralen. To the south lies the lands of Archenland and over a mountain range south of this is a desert and Calormen where the Tombs and Tashbaan lie, close to the southeastern shores. Off of the peninsula east of Calormen lie the Lone Islands.

    Drawing of Lucy and Mr. Tumnus alt text: A drawing of Lucy walking away with Mr. Tumnus. Mr. Tumnus is holding a black umbrella over their heads and they are walking through the snowy woods, surrounded by tall snow-covered trees.

    From "The Great Leveler" by Walter Scheidel
    Line graph alt text: A line graph depicting the rise of inequality between 1500 and 1800 in Piedmont (.62 to .78), Tuscany (0.65 to .85), Apulia (0.74 to 0.81), Northern Low Countries (0.5 to 0.625), and Southern Low Countries (0.525 to 0.58).
Thanks so much for your input!
Daniella.LP
Posts:77
Joined:Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:20 am
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Re: Alt text preferences - How can we improve?

Post by
ka.li
»
Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:47 pm
The examples that you've provided are very good. I like that you make sure the language of the descriptions are suitable for the target audience.

In the Mr. Hockey example, I think the sentence that it's a colour photograph can be omitted because when you talk about the different colours, I think people will assume it's a colour photograph. If the entire book has only black and white photos, I find it better to just say that at the beginning of the book.

While I generally prefer brief descriptions, including the colour of things like clothing can enhance the experience of the photo because the colour could convey or imply ideas in photographs. Also context is really important. If I can pick up the same info from the text, then it might not be necessary to repeat it in the photo description.
ka.li
Posts:72
Joined:Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:36 pm
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Re: Alt text preferences - How can we improve?

Post by
Karoline
»
Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:03 pm
I personally appreciate picture descriptions. I also love to know what colours things are. If all pictures are black and white, I think a note in the start of the book is a great idea.
I love the idea that you write with the audience in mind. I don't worry about text size, but I agree that allowing each reader to change it to fit their own preferences is very helpful.
Karoline
Posts:56
Joined:Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:31 am
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Re: Alt text preferences - How can we improve?

Post by
jennlortie
»
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:09 pm
Thank you all for your responses. We will delve a bit more deeply into alt text next week and it's great to have a few starting points to work from here!
jennlortie
Posts:32
Joined:Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:35 pm
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