This forum has 8 topics, 2 replies, and was last updated 3 months ago by Heather_S.
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Alternative Text ResourcesCan you share a couple museums that have good examples of using alt text?
Many large museums have good examples of using alt text, and some of them have been covered by the media or have written their own guides on how to use alternative text.
For example, Art in America, an illustrated monthly magazine focusing on American Art, uses the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as an example of alternative text done well. It includes some details of how the MAC in Chicago and the MOMA in New York both use alternative text, including guidelines for the descriptions used in alternative texts. Link here: How Museums Are Making Artwork Accessible to Blind People Online.
As community member Heather mentioned, The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum also has a very detailed guide for alternative text that contains some of the museum’s own examples. This guide is located here: Cooper Hewitt Guidelines for Image Description.
Finally, WebAIM has a great guide for creating alternative text with their own examples here: Alternative Text.
Culturally Appropriate Audio Descriptions and Alternative TextHello Forum Readers!
During Module 1: Digital Accessibility & Inclusion, the question of how to create culturally appropriate audio descriptions and alt text came up. Basically, should a description or alt text caption include features such as hair, gender, race, or ethnicity be included? Below are some interesting resources (link is included) that may aid you in answering that question:
Pictures Painted in Words: ADLAB Audio Description Guidelines edited by A. Remael, N. Reviers, and G. Vercauteren.
Here are some quotes from this source to show you what resources are available within:
Characters and Action
Below are guidelines listed in this source on how to describe a “character” on the screen. A character has “a physical body, but they also have traits, such as skills, attitudes, habits or tastes. If a character has only a few traits, then they are said to be one-dimensional, if they have many traits (sometimes contradictory ones), they are three-dimensional.”
How to describe a “character”:
-Determine any relations or links between and among characters. Decide whether to name the links explicitly or let the audience infer them on their own, based on the dialogues or plot.
-Determine whether a character is new or known;
If the character is new, decide whether to name them right away or wait until they are actually named in the film. When deciding, consider the moment they are named in the film or whether the character’s identity needs to be kept secret. If you decide not to name the character right away, use a short consistent description to identify them (see below). If the character is known, decide whether their looks have changed in a way that is relevant to the story or its temporal orchestration, signifying the lapse of time. If the character is hard to recognize at first, decide whether to say explicitly who they are or describe their changed looks and let the viewers infer their identity on their own, based on the context or dialogues;
-If the character is new, decide how to describe their looks. Determine the features that are the most unique about the character: a scar or a white beard. You can then use those features to consistently identify characters that are not named right away (see above), for example "a man with a white beard";
-You may also decide to describe a character gradually, adding a feature or two when the character reappears on the screen. It may be necessary due to time constraints or you may not want to overload the audience with a too lengthy and detailed description at one go, which could make their concentration lapse;
-Determine what actions and reactions of a character move the story forward to the greatest extent. Decide what words will most succinctly and vividly convey the character’s actions (see chapter 2.3.1 on wording and style). Identify gestures and facial expressions that best reflect their reactions and decide which of them to describe and which to leave out (see examples below);
-Determine what a character’s environment, as well as reactions of others towards them or the use of specific film techniques tell us about the character. For example, a character’s pedantic nature can be emphasized by describing how all items in their apartment are meticulously arranged. -Decide which elements to describe and how (see chapter 2.1.2 on spatio-temporal settings). As for the reactions, instead of saying that a woman is beautiful, you could describe how men respond to her with awe and admiration. And finally, with film techniques (see the Away from Her (Polley, 2006) example above), decide whether and how to render them in your description.
Audio Description of Visual Information by Web Accessiability Initiative.
Below are some quotes from this source:
Tips for Describing Yourself
Describe the visual elements that are important to understand what the video is communicating. Imagine that you are describing the video to someone who cannot see it — what do you say? You don’t need to describe every detail or things that are apparent from the audio.
Describe objectively, without interpretation, censorship, or comment.
Write description in present tense, active voice, and third-person narrative style.
Generally, all text in the video should be included in the main audio (integrated description) or the separate description. For example, title text at the beginning of the video, links and e-mail addresses shown at the end, speakers’ names in text, and text in a presentation. The text does not have to be included verbatim (exactly word-for-word), yet all of the information conveyed by the text needs to be available in the main audio, in the separate description, or clearly with the video.
Use a voice, style, and delivery that is distinguishable from other voices used in the video.
Use a neutral voice that does not convey emotions.
When recording a single file with timed descriptions, voice the descriptions at the same time as the visual content, or right before the visual content. Don’t put the description after the visual content.
In addition to the written resources, there are some great videos to help:
Describing People’s Appearance in English - Visual Vocabulary Lesson by Oxford Online English
What Makes Videos Accessible to Blind and Visually Impaired People? by ACM SIGCHI
From personal research, this question can be generally answered by listing features that distinguish and identify the person in question. How that person identifies themselves should be the first point of reference on what features should be expressed. Due to this individualistic approach, there are few "rules" on how to culturally identify a person as it is up to every individual's discretion.
Accessibility Overlays in websites: Pros and ConsWhat are accessibility overlays?
- Accessibility overlays are marketed to ‘instantly make all necessary repairs on your website and help your Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) problems disappear.’
Why are they bad?
- They don’t properly solve for accessibility. And to improve digital accessibility is to actually do the work required.
- The plug-in tool has inadequacies by applying automatic fixes to the issues detected, theirs also risks in breaking the website’s user interface.
- Overlays don’t address your Mobile properties.
- Overlays also inhabit no control over the speed or security of the website, which could result in being hacked.
What is the best solution?
- ‘To achieve WCAG is to do the work, complete an automated and manual audit of your site and address all accessibility issues you uncover at their core. Can also mean updating your content and code.’
For more resources:
" rel="noopener" target="_blank">https://www.accessibility.works/blog/avoid-accessibility-overlay-tools-toolbar-plugins/
Tactile interactives and accessibilityQuestion: We have tactile interactives in some of our new exhibits; is there a recommended way to sort of alert people with limited or no vision that they are there? (For now, unfortunately, they have been uninstalled due to COVID but they will hopefully be back eventually).
Think about implementing inclusive design throughout your museum as it will not only benefit visitors with limited or no vision or other disabilities but will benefit all visitors to the museum. For example, audio guides have been implemented at places such as the Andy Warhol Museum through audio recordings made available via a mobile app that utilizes location recognition software to alert visitors to various aspects of the museum and tactile exhibits as they navigate the museum and individual exhibits. In this particular example, guided tactile descriptions and tactile reproduction have been found to be most helpful for visitors who are blind or have low vision but enhance gallery experience for all visitors. Furthermore, be proactive and make sure that your institution has a website with updated information that is easy to find and clear for those who have questions about accessibility. This will present another opportunity to let all potential visitors know what interactives are available in the museum and how accessible they are.
Source: Inclusive Digital Interactives: Best Practices and Research. Smithsonian Press, 2020. https://access.si.edu/sites/default/files/inclusive-digital-interactives-best-practices-research.pdf
This is a wonderful resource of case studies that highlight best practices in inclusive design which highlights digital interactives.
Other helpful sources: Roberto Vaz, Paula Odete Fernandes, Ana Cecília Rocha Veiga.
Designing an Interactive Exhibitor for Assisting Blind and Visually Impaired Visitors in Tactile Exploration of Original Museum Pieces. Procedia Computer Science, Volume 138, 2018, Pages 561-570, ISSN 1877-0509, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2018.10.076.
See also “Revisiting Touch in Pandemic Year Two” blog post & linked paper by Cheryl Fogle-Hatch (who was cited in at least one of the webinars in this module, I believe) https://museumsenses.org/revisiting-touch-in-pandemic-year-two/
Learning about Alternative TextJust an FYI for folks, I've found this website from the Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt Museum to be really helpful when it comes to writing Alternative Text: https://www.cooperhewitt.org/cooper-hewitt-guidelines-for-image-description/