I'm a completely blind user with a screen reader, and while browsing the website, my attention was attracted by this question As I have experience as a blind user, I wanted to make sure the answers were reasonable. For the most part, they were, accept for this:

From the desktop, Alt + F4 (opens Shut Down Windows dialogue). (If you're not at the desktop, first do enter image description here + D). enter image description here 2. R (Goes to "Restart") enter image description here 3. Enter
It's possible to figure out what these unlabelled graphics are from the context, but if they're part of some default selection of graphics provided by superuser, they really do need some alt-text. How can this get fixed?

  • This question turned into a hilarious collection of various and sundry misunderstandings from everything from how images work on stack exchange to if the kbd tag works or not. All of these are mostly my bad. Sorry, everyone! Should this question get closed or deleted? I don't think there is any valuable information left here anymore. blush
    – fastfinge
    May 22 '14 at 1:50
  • I think that this is still a valid and good question. TBH, I didn't think of people that needed to read the alt-text and wondered why they were there in the first place. I realize now that I'm one of those jerks that puts erroneous text instead of being polite to my blind peers. I apologize for doing so and thank you for bringing this up. May 23 '14 at 0:24

When using the markdown editor, the user is prompted to enter an image caption, which automatically gets converted to alt text. Some users are good at doing this, while others are lazy and don't add alt text. Unfortunately there isn't much the site can do to change this – the alt text required for each image is of course contextual, so it's up to the author to make sure they do it right.

I'll edit this particular post to have alt text on the images, but as a site-wide issue, I can't think of any easy solutions. Do you have any suggestions?

  • 1
    No, But I saw the same thing, in multiple answers to that question, where keyboard keys were replaced with images. So I thought that superuser maybe offers a default image picker for common images like that or something. If that isn't the case, this can't really be fixed. I guess requiring the user to type something in the description field of the markdown editor might help, but I think it would probably be too much of an inconvenience
    – fastfinge
    May 22 '14 at 0:21
  • @fastfinge there is no default set of images available. While it would theoretically be possible to require image captions, I'm sure most people would just put "caption" or "blah blah blah" if they weren't going to make a caption in the first place.
    – nhinkle
    May 22 '14 at 0:28
  • Maybe. But in that case, at least they would have thought about it, and decided not to describe the image on purpose. As it is, they could just forget or not have thought of it.
    – fastfinge
    May 22 '14 at 0:33
  • I can't see any simple, 'automatic' solution'. I'm probably guilty of leaving the default myself. The keyboard 'images' are a tag type we use - they arn't actually uploaded as images, but rather by enclosing the contents in <kbd> tags. If its something that absolutely needs to be fixed on the short run, bringing it up on chat or meta is probably the right thing to do. I'll probably have to add it in to my 'things to fix when editing other things'
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 22 '14 at 0:34
  • Another thought: would it be possible to allow people to caption other people's uncaptioned images, even if they don't have the ability to edit other people's answers, yet? Maybe make it based on participate on meta or something? That would provide a vast number of people who can caption images if a blind user complained in a comment, and that's probably going to happen only once every million or so images. That way nobody has to deal with a required caption, and the images where a caption is needed/required can get captions quickly.
    – fastfinge
    May 22 '14 at 0:34
  • Anyone can do a suggested edit. If they do so, and refer to this question as the reason, I'm sure it will be accepted.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 22 '14 at 0:35
  • @Journeyman Geek♦ so could default captions be at least added to the images when they're part of kbd tags? Doing that would probably get three quarters of the unlabelled images that really need it. For example, in the question I linked too, the logo key graphic really needed a caption, and the screen shot kind of didn't.
    – fastfinge
    May 22 '14 at 0:41
  • the logo key graphic is a bit of a hack - I think I can yell to/at/with the folks involved to see what we can do. That specifically should/can be brought up on its own.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 22 '14 at 0:43
  • It's a bit specific to implement as a filter/requirement, but I agree that if an image is in a kbd tag it should have an alt tag. We'll look into it.
    – nhinkle
    May 22 '14 at 1:17

Trying to consolidate the comments thread on the other post, since its getting long, and is relevant.

There's no 'proper' solution for the lack of usable alt-tags as I see it - there's just too many posts!. If someone decides to fix these in an appropriate manner (no edit flooding!), does a good job at it, and mentions this question as the reason, I don't see any reason why suggested edits that fix images on posts shouldn't be accepted.

I'll personally be adding this to things I fix when I fix other things as well.

However what you're talking about is alt-tags for the keyboard images I think - which apparently works by default. I'm curious - does Windows Logo Key work better?

  • The example in the question you linked to is working. The only place it didn't work was in the first answer of the question I linked above, before it was edited to fix it.
    – fastfinge
    May 22 '14 at 1:38
  • ah hah! In that case I utterly misunderstood. I'll close my meta.se question, and see if I can't find the question about the windows key tags and fix the links there
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 22 '14 at 1:41
  • Someone already did. I thought the windows key graphic was broken everywhere, as well, so it's my fault. Apparently if the kbd tags are used correctly it does work.
    – fastfinge
    May 22 '14 at 1:44

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