The Fediverse has lots of blind and partially-sighted users who rely on audio screen reader software to tell them what is going on.
Here's how to make your posts more suitable for screen readers:
-Use CamelCase on hashtags, where each new word has a capital letter, for example #DogsOfMastodon instead of #dogsofmastodon. CamelCase makes it much easier for screen readers to see the different words and read them out properly.
-Don't use long groups of emoji all next to each other, these are really irritating to hear read out loud.
-Add text descriptions to images and videos before you post them. Do this by attaching the file and clicking "edit" before you post it, then add the description.
p.s. The Mastodon bug where CamelCase hashtags were being accidentally replaced has now been fixed (https://github.com/mastodon/mastodon/pull/16460).
Mastodon instance admins!
You can remind your users to include image descriptions by adding the following CSS to your site's theme:
Image descriptions are important for blind and partially sighted people who use audio screen readers to navigate the Fediverse.
Mastodon users can get a reminder if they have forgotten to add a description to an image by following @PleaseCaption
PleaseCaption will then follow you back, and will message you if you forget to add a description.
To stop the service, just unfollow PleaseCaption.
(Thank you to @dhusch for mentioning this service 👍 )
Add text descriptions to images and videos before you post them. Do this by attaching the file and clicking "edit" before you post it, then add the description
Thanks for saying this, it's very important! ❤️
I took months to figure out how media descriptions were being added to images. (Once I found out, I never didn't add it! 🤭) I think the 'edit' button is not so obvious to mean 'add a media description/ alt-text'. At first glance, I thought it meant 'edit the image', like a photo editor.
Misskey has "add a caption", and Pleroma has "add media description" (I guess), which conveys more meaning than "edit".
Should the 'edit' button be renamed?
I'd love your ideas on this! 😊
@feditips while I'm OK to adapt some of my writing and posting behaviour to make things easier and more inclusive to people who can't see (ad description on visual media for instance), I find it quite problematic to suggest abled people should restrain from using some #communication facilities (strings of emojis) just because some software are translating it into something anoying resulting in a bad experience for #desabled people. The #screenreader software should adapt. Not me.
It's up to you what you do, I am just telling people ways to make their posts more suitable for screen readers.
About the emoji strings, I know it seems weird that the software can't fix this, but as far as I know there isn't really a software solution for this.
Either the screen reader ignores emoji strings (and potentially important information is missed) or it reads them (and potentially irrelevant information is read out). The software has no way of knowing if a post's emoji are important or pointless. The end user can decide whether they're important of course, but they can only decide this after the emojis are read out, and by then it's too late.
Either way, the screen reader user is placed at a disadvantage 😔
How do you go about creating a hashtag with a special character? If I try to create C++ what I get is C.
I don't think you can? Pure numbers don't work either, though combinations of number and letter do work.
@feditips Yes, but one of my (many) complaints with #Mastodon is the way it handles hashtags. I always type them in camel case but if I press enter after I've typed the hashtag, it often gets changed into entirely lowercase.
I believe this is something to do with how the first person who used the tag typed it, or how it is most commonly used, but it's really fucking annoying.
So #Mastodon or the people who develop its various incarnations really needs to do their bit too.