Practices to create accessible image descriptions and audio recordings. Internal page.Jessica Oddi
Updated 11 October 2023. This guide is a free resource written by Jessica Oddi. Please attribute her when sharing with others. No payment is required, but PayPal Tips are always appreciated!
Alt Text [or Alternative Text], is a written description of images in the code of an image tag. Vital for those who are Blind or use screen reading devices. Keep it short but relevant to the image.
If you include Image Descriptions in your caption [along with Alt Text in settings] it can help those who might miss out on details from an image alone.
For more complex images, there are a few ways you can go about writing image descriptions. These can be applied to basic images as well. But remember, this takes practice! Any description is better than none, and over time it gets easier. Here are a few tips for complex, or abstract and creative images:
This first piece is for pure teaching for the basics. Jess used a personal photo and wrote three different styles of descriptions. We will go through each to show there is no right or wrong way to write!
Basic: Baby photo of Jess, sitting in a manual wheelchair. She holds sunglasses at her nose and has a pacifier.
Descriptive: Jess as a baby, sits in a manual chair. She holds pink sunglasses down at her nose, and has a matching pacifier. Jess is white, dressed in 90’s attire with a cap and patterned leggings. There are toys on her tray.
Expressive: Baby Jess, a white disabled toddler, straight out of the 90's. Rocking a baseball hat, pink sunglasses, and a pacifier so big she doesn't care if she's too old for it. Jess sits in a manual wheelchair three times her size, while holding her sunglasses down to her nose. Her sassy expression that says she's clearly too cool for the toys on her tray.
The following are a few pieces Jess made for her social media account. The first is the book cover for Witty Wheels [client work]. The second is a cover for an old Instagram Reel.
Short: A collage of Elena and Maria Chiara, two Italian women in wheelchairs, in a surrealist style. The bodies melt at the waist; their torso and legs are joined by threads that thin and thicken. Surrounded by flowers and golden wheelchair parts.
Long: A collage of Elena and Maria Chiara in a surrealist style. Elena has long dark hair, wears a black T-shirt, blue pants and black ballet flats, and is sprawled in an electric wheelchair. Maria Chiara has long dark hair, wears a white tank top, black jeans and combat boots, and is seated in an electric wheelchair.
The bodies of both "melt" at the waist, so that their respective torso and legs are joined by threads that thin and thicken. The prams are deconstructed into various pieces, gold-coloured like the girls' rings and bracelets.
All around there are leaves and large purple, blue and pink flowers, as well as small red tulips present above all in the points of junction between busts and legs.
Image Description: Rant! In abstract letters, intertwined in a single stroke. Thick and thin lines form an organic shape from the letters. Fine vertical lines in the background against a dark grey.
With video or audio content, you want to create multiple ways to interact. Tactile [pause, reading the transcript]. Audial [good quality sound and annunciation]. Visual [large captions, clean fonts, and backgrounds our outlines around the text].
A collection of internal and external resources Jess finds useful and cool.resources list
A cappuccino cup and saucer against a teal wall. It has a gold handle and base, with whiskey written in all caps. Photo by Alexandra Del Bello.