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, ๐Ÿ˜„ is fine but ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜‹ ๐Ÿ˜š ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜„ ๐Ÿ˜ž ๐Ÿ‘ 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.

For example is easier for a screen reader to say out loud than , as CamelCase makes it obvious where the words are.

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:

github.com/tootsuite/mastodon/

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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.)

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