Week 2: Alt Text for Images (General)

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 Images (General)

Post by
jennlortie
»
Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:19 am
Thank you all for your feedback in the first week about alt text. Now we will be looking more in depth at four examples (A-D), to help ensure we are creating the best possible alt text for our NNELS books!

Questions about alt text for general images:

Question 1. In general, what advice do you have for providing alt text for images? What makes for really good alt text and vice versa?
Question 2. What do you think about clothing descriptions? Are they important? What about the colour of someone’s eyes, hair, or skin?
Question 3. Do you suggest providing an approximate age for the people in the image (as in Image B)?
Question 4. Do you have any tips for describing portrait photographs such as Image D. They are often found in “About the Author” sections and we want to make sure we are getting them just right!
Question 5. Do you prefer alt text with more description or less than the images below? Does it depend on the context?
Question 6. Do you have any other feedback?

Image A alt text: A colour photograph of an area that has been dessimated by fire. The author stands in the centre of piles of ash and rubble, with only the frames of golf carts and vehicles remaining. He is wearing his firefighting uniform, including a red helmet. There are several tall leafless trees that have been burnt that remain standing in the background.

Image B alt text: A colour photograph of Gordie and Mark (at about 6 years old) standing beside a large fish with silver scales. The fish is just slightly shorter than Gordie, and much bigger than Mark. Gordie is wearing a blue polo shirt and red and black plaid shorts, Mark is wearing a white shirt and short set, with the shirt unbuttoned.

Image C alt text: A black and white line drawing of Mike with a thought bubble over his head containing two tickets with checkmarks on them, a stack of school books, and a graded paper with an A on it. Mike is a freckled boy with dark eyes.

Image D alt text: A black and white portrait photograph, of the author, Michelle Mulder. She has short hair, is standing in a grassy field, and is wearing dangling earrings and a turtleneck.
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Re: Week 2: Alt Text for Images (General)

Post by
ka.li
»
Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:42 pm
I think what makes or breaks an image description is too much or too little detail. Finding a good balance is ideal. If you try to describe everything that you see in a photo, it can be overwhelming. A way to try to find that balance is to look at the context of the text and try not to repeat what can be determined through the text alone. I like that all the descriptions aren't too lengthy and still have a lot of good detail. I think it's good to describe hair/eye colour as well as clothing. In photo B, Are you determining the age of Mark from appearance alone? If you can determine the approximate age from other clues then it should be fine to say the age in the description. If's it's based on appearance, you might be able to say Mark as a young child. For photo A, are the frames of broken vehicles scattered throughout the landscape? Can that be determined? That is the only detail that I wondered about. Photo C is fine. Photo D is good as well but I think it may not be necessary to say it is the author if that can easily be determined in the book.
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Re: Week 2: Alt Text for Images (General)

Post by
Karoline
»
Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:21 am
I love descriptions! I love learning about the clothing, the background if it is important. It really does depend on on the context. If it is a book that is talking about a party or wedding for example, you want to give those details. If it is a cook book, I want to know what it looks like. Often the set up is artistic. Does this make sense?
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Re: Week 2: Alt Text for Images (General)

Post by
rmarion
»
Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:58 am
I think it really does depend on the context of the photos as others have said already. If the author of the book is providing description of scenes within the text of the book, the photos may not need much description. Sometimes too much description can be confusing especially if the photo is in the middle of the page. The reason is that if the description basically repeats existing text it may be confusing for someone who may not realize that the photo description is not actually part of the text. Especially if they need to quote information from the text.

Having the information about clothing was useful in the photo describing the fire scene as it was important to know that the person was the fire fighter since the photo was out of context as it was not associated with any text from the book it came from.
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