Pictures and infographics. Wonderful things, aren’t they?
Everyone seems to think so. But I don’t. Personally, I hate infographics, and find picture heavy posts annoying.
We live in a world where it’s assumed you have all five of your senses, and nothing makes that clearer than the current trend of replacing text filled posts with infographics. For those who actually do have all five senses, this is a great thing, and apparently serves to save time, allowing them to fit in more blog reading time each day. This is a good thing, right? Well, yes, it is. After all, we all want as many people as possible to visit our blogs, so the more blogs each person can visit, the more chance we have of one of those blogs being our own.
But what about those of us who are missing one of those senses? What about the visually impaired bloggers out there?
Popular opinion seems to be that there are very few disabled people online. But, while this may be true in comparison with the number of non-disabled internet users in the world, this fact is not entirely accurate. You see, modern technology has made things like the internet more accessible than ever before to those of us who otherwise would have been excluded, such as the visually impaired community. Yet, as the internet itself becomes more accessible to us, the content people are posting upon it becomes less so.
Yes, we have screen readers. Screen readers are wonderful things. They read the text on the screen to those of us who can’t read it for ourselves. However, if there’s no text for it to read, a screen reader is useless. Pictures without labels, or descriptions of some kind, posted amid text filled post are frustrating mysteries, but infographics are even more so, and turn a potentially interesting blog post in to something completely unfathomable, thereby making the visually impaired person feel excluded.
Of course, I know this is not intentional. In fact, I expect most people aren’t even aware there’s a possibility that visually impaired people may be reading their blog. But that’s why I wrote this: to make you aware of the possibility of visually impaired readers, and why I – and others like me – hate infographics and picture heavy posts.
Naturally, you don’t want to stop posting pictures and infographics. Of course you don’t. Which is totally fine. Hey, even I’m guilty of doing posts with several pictures in them from time to time. Besides, it does seem that the majority of people out there prefer just looking at pictures. Which is also totally fine.
So, what can you do to stop your visually impaired readers from feeling excluded, while still posting the pictures your sighted readers love?
It’s simple, really. All you need to do is add a little description to go with your images and infographics. It doesn’t take much time to do, isn’t difficult to achieve, and still allows your sighted readers to enjoy the pictures and infographics you planned to post. But that little thing, which takes up only a few extra moments of your time, will mean a lot to your visually impaired readers, who will no longer feel excluded.
Images can be captioned or use the ‘alt text’ box in the image file to write a description.
The ‘title’ of the image can be descriptive and can even include text from within images, such as a haiku, that can then be picked up by text-reading software.
Use a clear background with good contrast for text to improve visibility for partially sighted and ageing eyes and a standard, reasonably-sized font.
Make sure that links are labelled clearly to indicate where they lead.
Take care when using coloured text that they remain readable with good contrast.
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About the author
Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, has a very vivid imagination, and spends a lot of time in fictional worlds; some created by her, others created by other authors. When she remembers to spend some time in the real world, it’s mostly to spend time with her hubby and pets, though sometimes to indulge in other interests that capture her attention from time to time, such as doing crafts, listening to music, watching movies, playing the odd figure game or roleplaying game, and doing a little cooking and baking. To date she has published 7 poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the near future. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II.
The Magical Chapters Trilogy
In a world where everyone thinks witches are warty old women, a powerful and short tempered 9 year old is trying to find her place in the world, and make amends for something that happened when she was only 3. Her name is Paige, and she can bend the elements to her rather strong will. But can she convince people to accept her for who she is? This is the first book in the “Magical Chapters” trilogy.
“Even though I am well past my sell-by date, the child in me is looking forward to reading Victoria’s next book in the series.” Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape.
Everyone knows the mountains are full of dragons, and everyone also knows those dragons are dangerous monsters who eat people. So when the people from the town notice that one of them has a young boy with it they set out to rescue him. But Daisy isn’t like other dragons; she’s sweet and kind, and just happens to be a vegetarian. Unfortunately, the only people who know this are a 9 year old witch named Paige, and a 10 year old orphan named Luke. Can Paige and Luke convince everyone else that Daisy isn’t dangerous? This is the second book in the “Magical Chapters” trilogy.
There’s something about birthdays that make you think about the past, and now that she’s celebrating her 10th birthday, that’s just what Paige is doing. But nothing could bring those memories so clearly to the surface better than an uninvited party guest from her past who wont even meet her gaze. Now Paige’s anger and frustration are threatening to over-power the control she has over her magic; can she learn to control her temper before it’s too late? This is the third book in the “Magical Chapters”.
Victoria is a prolific writer with too many books to list.
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