A lot of blind and partially-sighted people use the Fediverse through screen readers, apps that read on-screen text aloud.
Long strings of emoji can cause problems for screen readers, because they take a long time to say out loud. They can't be skipped because it is impossible for apps to know when emoji contain useful information.
If you want to make life easier for screen reader users, use just one emoji at a time.
For example, 😄 is fine but 🙂 😋 😚 😆 😄 😞 👍 causes difficulties.
If you're an instance owner, please make sure your emoji use text descriptions (alt text, shortcodes) that are descriptive and suitable for screenreaders.
For example, "SmilingCat" or "smiling_cat" will work great, but "smilingcat" may cause problems because the screen reader will not know where to put the space.
When you write hashtags, remember to use CamelCase (where each word has a capital letter).
This makes it much easier for blind and partially-sighted people's screen reader apps to read the hashtag out loud, and makes your message much more accessible.
As some people have pointed out, Mastodon has a tendency to suggest non-CamelCase versions of hashtags automatically.
WORKAROUND: Instead of pressing Enter to get rid of a hashtag suggestion, press Space instead. This should leave your CamelCase hashtag intact.
This is still a frustrating bug though, and if you want it corrected please give a thumbs up to this issue in the Mastodon Git:
If you post images in Mastodon, you can make them more accessible to blind or partially-sighted people by adding a text description.
After you've attached the image, click "Edit" and write the description, then click "Apply".
If there's text in the image, you can use Mastodon's text recognition system to convert it into a description by clicking "Detect text from picture". (The system isn't perfect, and you may need to tweak the text.)
@feditips This also applies to the use of mathematical characters in Unicode to make text appear in a different font (italics or bold or whatnot).
I think most readers read the emoji's alt text, so for your examples they would say "dude" and "blobfoxthink"?
@feditips @pfm Correct. With custom emojis, we get to read the shortcodes. That's why it is better to, when adding them to an instance, choose ones that are better readable. For example, "blobfox_think" or "BlobfoxThink" are better than "blobfoxthink", because that last one is read out as just one word, and reading by letter is required to make sense of it.
You should also put actually good descriptions on images you toot, not just use it as place to put dumb jokes (xkcd-style)
...Not that I would know anything about that 👀
@feditips I'm autistic and aphantasic and I don't understand most emoji. For example, in the toot above, I only understand the 'thumps up'. The others are all facial epressions, so I assume they're showing some emotions, but I'm not sure which ones. It's a great help that on mastodon there'll be a word when you hover over the emoji. Sometimes that word is comlete nonsense to me, sometimes that word actually explains what the emoji is trying to say.
Apparently, the situation is that it uses whichever capitalisation was used first, rather than favouring lower case.
If CamelCase was used first, it would correct to that.
Obviously CamelCase should be preferred, but I am not a developer so not sure how easy this would be to fix?
Workaround for this is to press space (and *not* enter) after you have written the hashtag, this keeps the hashtag as-is and closes the suggestion box.
Couldn't find any existing issue, so I have opened an issue for this. Please give it a thumbs up if you want this fixed:
@feditips aye! This has been an annoying bother since day 1! Hoping to get this small change addressed to make a big difference for readability 👍
@feditips Meanwhile, as a stopgap:
Instance Admins can change that, though it has to be done for every tag.
Go to Preferences - Moderation - Hashtags
Look for the hashtag you want to change, and click it.
You can now change the capitalisation of letters.
@feditips i be so fine then boom slight_smile yum kissing_closed_eyes laughing smile disappointed thumbsup
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