Thursday, April 21, 2016

Blindness Tourism enroute to Quarterly Meeting

Globe nestled in branches of a tree whose branches look like fingers with leaves growing out the ends of the fingers. Use OCR to read the text
Spring Quarterly Meeting Flyer
Hover your mouse to hear
RantWoman's suggested alt text
The following moments of Blindness Tourism and perpetual RantWoman malcontentedness brought to you by new #alttext functions now appearing in various corners of the interwebs. Geek terminology alert; if you have trouble finding God in the geek terminology, breathe deeply and RantWoman can TRY for other points of connection. And if you entirely resent being dragged along on this blindness tourism excursion, consider whether you might ever have dragged RantWoman along on any excursions she really was not that interested in and MIGHT have just been making nice out of politeness.

RantWoman does not do Facebook on an iOS device. Nor does RantWoman feel a call to upload the current Quarterly Meeting flyer to Facebook just to see what the innovative new artificial intelligence #alttext generator for iOS devices would do with the artistic elements of this graphic. But RantWoman has the same question about 3 wonderful photos on the Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Park that all include a sculpture called Echo and render the concept of Echo visually in interesting ways.

RantWoman's life is not overflowing with people who provide alt text voluntarily, but in the event that something say from an art museum showed up with the sort of thoughtfully crafted art verbiage that are museum curators' bread and butter, RantWoman would not want that text overridden by artificial intelligence creations. Design moment for the next iteration?

Some of RantWoman's blind and blindness network are quite charmed with the new functionality; others see work in progress. Why, though, should sighted people be deprived of the opportunity to appreciate what artificial intelligence creates? What would be a touch-screen equivalent of a hover the mouse to see the alt text?

RantWoman notes that she personally would find OCR for all those endless text in graphics thingies people post on Facebook really fabulous.

But Praise God for Convenient OCR! RantWoman downloaded the image from the Quarterly Meeting Website. Convenient OCR  the function of RantWoman's Windows-based screen reader, JAWS, successfully read MOST of the text in the above flyer. Convenient OCR completely bypassed all the curly italic stuff though.

Suppose for a break we visit Twitter's new  #alttext functions for photos. RantWoman actually fantasizes about options for adding  #alttext at the time she takes photos and having the alttext stay with the photo as it moves through the interwebs. Again, why should sighted users be deprived of the experience of reading what people put in their #alttext?

Here it would occur to RantWoman to experiment with the altexts she has applied on her phone to see what Twitter in IE does with alt text. It would occur to rantWoman to play with this, but not tonight.

RantWoman would be thrilled for a Twitter OCR function, maybe a swipe gesture, not automatic for all the text in graphics thingies abounding on Twitter.

RantWoman has been experimenting with all kinds of junk in the Alt Text on photos she tweets: hash tags, snarky comments, actual descriptions of the visual content. Possibly RantWoman should think more about what actually makes sense there.

Stay tuned?

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