Week 2: Alt Text for Graphs/Charts

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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Week 2: Alt Text for Graphs/Charts

Post by
jennlortie
»
Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:27 am
Graphs can be really tricky to write alt text for, because they often contain a lot of technical data. We want to make sure we are taking the best approach possible, so we appreciate any information or feedback you can provide.

Questions about graphs/charts:

Question 1. What tips can you provide for clear descriptions of charts and graphs? Not just for these ones, but in general. Have you ever come across any bad alt text for graphs? What were they doing wrong?
Question 2. If the graph has a lot of data (for example, Graph A has a lot of peaks and valleys), is it best for the alt text to summarize the main “takeaways” from the graph? Or should the alt text depict as much detail as possible, even if it means that it will be a lot of text?
Question 3. What are the best ways to describe units of measurement? For example, for the word “seconds” in Graph B, do you prefer the full word “seconds” or the short form “s”?
Question 4. Does it make sense to include data in brackets after a label in Graph C? Or is it better to ‘set up’ the graph and describe how it is laid out before providing specific data?
Question 5. What other things come to mind when reading these examples?

Graph A alt text: A line graph indicating a negative correlation between per capita GDP/wage and real wage, with the two meeting in the approximate year 1547 at approximately 0.5 real wage and 1.5 per capita GDP/wage. The late 1700's indicates a peak in per capita GDP/wage and the lowest point indicated in real wage.

Graph B alt text: Three line graphs with corresponding data over 30 seconds of time. The top graph represents distance (m) over time (s), the centre graph represents velocity (m/s) over time (s), the bottom graph represents acceleration (m/s squared) over time (s). There are vertical dotted lines that run through the three graphs to highlight the span of time between 4 and 7 seconds as well as between 23 and 27 seconds (approximate values). In the top Distance graph, the distance in m rises steadily and levels at ~140m and 15 seconds. It then lowers steadily before leveling off at 25 seconds. In the middle Velocity graph, the velocity in m/s rises steadily to 15 m/s, levels off at 4 sec until 7 sec, drops steadily and reaches 0 m/s at 15 seconds, continues to drop steadily at the same rate until it reaches -15m/s at 23s, rises steadily until it reaches 0m/s at 27s and levels off at 0m/s until 30s. The bottom Acceleration Graph starts at 4m/s squared, remains level until 4s, where it drops instantly to 0 m/s squared, it remains at 0 until 7s then drops to -2 m/s squared where it remains until 23s. It then rises to 4 m/s squared, remains level until 27s, drops to 0 m/s squared and remains at 0 until 30s.

Graph C alt text: The graph portrays the preimperial (~125-160 metres square), Roman imperial (~200-300 metres square), and postimperial (~60-80 metres square) roofed house size.
jennlortie
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Re: Week 2: Alt Text for Graphs/Charts

Post by
ryano
»
Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:37 pm
I like B better more detail are much clear to get better picture of the image.

C is good and more point form.

A bit unclearly to me as I have not see the image but I believe it must be related to graphic.

It is depend on what is being discuss. I will recommend the detail describe of the image in text to get clear picture.

I will pick B and C for describe the image.
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Re: Week 2: Alt Text for Graphs/Charts

Post by
Daniella.LP
»
Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:25 am
Question 1. What tips can you provide for clear descriptions of charts and graphs? Not just for these ones, but in general. Have you ever come across any bad alt text for graphs? What were they doing wrong?

Make sure that the alt text includes meaningful information: I've encounter descriptions that paraphrase the title of the graph or chart and may describe it in general terms but lack specific information that the reader may need/want to know.

Question 2. If the graph has a lot of data (for example, Graph A has a lot of peaks and valleys), is it best for the alt text to summarize the main “takeaways” from the graph? Or should the alt text depict as much detail as possible, even if it means that it will be a lot of text?

For graphs and charts that may be used for research, I think that it is better to have as much detail as possible, even if it means longer descriptions. Make sure to highlight the most relevant information first.

Question 3. What are the best ways to describe units of measurement? For example, for the word “seconds” in Graph B, do you prefer the full word “seconds” or the short form “s”?

In general, I'd prefer the word seconds rather than S, to avoid any confusion; I find it easier to follow if I am just listening and not reading in detail and reviewing using my computer. If the word is repeated a lot in a description (as is the case in graph B), in the first instance you could say "seconds, abbreviated with the letter S onward." Using a short form such as "sec" or "min" would be okay, but always specify what the short form of a unit of measurement in the graph means to avoid confusion: "min" could be interpreted as minimum, or as minute.

Question 4. Does it make sense to include data in brackets after a label in Graph C? Or is it better to ‘set up’ the graph and describe how it is laid out before providing specific data?

Describe how the graph is laid out before providing specific information.

Question 5. What other things come to mind when reading these examples?

Alt text for graph A appears to leave out some details for the second part: peak in per capita GDP/wage and the lowest point indicated in real wage; are those shown as a value as in the first part 0.5 real wage?

Alt text for graph B uses different forms for second: "second," "S," and "sec". Using the word "second" and clarifying that in the rest of the description "s" or "sec" means second should avoid any confusion.
Daniella.LP
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Re: Week 2: Alt Text for Graphs/Charts

Post by
ka.li
»
Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:42 pm
Question 1. What tips can you provide for clear descriptions of charts and graphs? Not just for these ones, but in general. Have you ever come across any bad alt text for graphs? What were they doing wrong?

Generally, I like to know how the chart/graph is laid out before getting into the data. For example, when I ask a reader to describe a graph, I request that they tell me the labels for the X and Y axis, followed by the info and the curve of lines and position of plotted points. If the goal of the graph is to convey the general trend then it's fine not going into a lot of detail but if specific numbers are important, it might be useful to describe the graph then display all the points in a table.

Question 2. If the graph has a lot of data (for example, Graph A has a lot of peaks and valleys), is it best for the alt text to summarize the main “takeaways” from the graph? Or should the alt text depict as much detail as possible, even if it means that it will be a lot of text?

It depends on what the author is trying to convey with the graph. Does the author want to have the reader focus on specific points or the general idea?

Question 3. What are the best ways to describe units of measurement? For example, for the word “seconds” in Graph B, do you prefer the full word “seconds” or the short form “s”?

I like the short form s. Always try to use the same abbreviations that the author is using.

Question 4. Does it make sense to include data in brackets after a label in Graph C? Or is it better to ‘set up’ the graph and describe how it is laid out before providing specific data?

Set up the graph and then describe the data.

Question 5. What other things come to mind when reading these examples?

In example B be consistent with the way units are written. If you say seconds, then stick with saying seconds for the entire description.
ka.li
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Re: Week 2: Alt Text for Graphs/Charts

Post by
Karoline
»
Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:05 pm
Question 1. What tips can you provide for clear descriptions of charts and graphs? Not just for these ones, but in general. Have you ever come across any
bad alt text for graphs? What were they doing wrong?
Question
I have gotten terrible graphs in the past and it was related to my studies. Frustrating for sure. I was not given enough information to figure out what the graph was indicating. I prefer more details that I can skip if I want, but are here when I need them.
2. If the graph has a lot of data (for example, Graph A has a lot of peaks and valleys), is it best for the alt text to summarize the main “takeaways”
from the graph? Or should the alt text depict as much detail as possible, even if it means that it will be a lot of text?
I rather have to much information than not enough. Because of the nature of graphs being so visual, I think it is more chalenging for thoose of us that can't see them to understand them.

Question 3. What are the best ways to describe units of measurement? For example, for the word “seconds” in Graph B, do you prefer the full word “seconds”
or the short form “s”?
I like the full word. I think it is more clear.
Question 4. Does it make sense to include data in brackets after a label in Graph C? Or is it better to ‘set up’ the graph and describe how it is laid
out before providing specific data?
I think the description of the graph is helpful. It makes the data more understandable.
Question 5. What other things come to mind when reading these examples?
a summery of the data at the end may be appropriate in some situations.
Karoline
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