Alt-Text as Poetry

Alt-Text as Poetry

Friday, April 24, 2020
1-2:30pm CDT

with Shannon Finnegan (New York, NY)

Alt-text is an essential part of web accessibility, making visual content accessible though short textual descriptions for blind and low-vision people who use screen reading software to access digital content. Alt-text is often overlooked altogether or understood through the lens of compliance, as an unwelcome burden to be met with minimum effort. How can we instead approach alt-text thoughtfully and creatively, while still prioritizing alt-text as an accessibility practice? In this workshop, led by Shannon Finnegan and developed in collaboration with Bojana Coklyat, we will reframe alt-text as a type of poetry and practice writing it together. We will look at examples of poetic and creative approaches to alt-text, then do several writing exercises designed to focus on issues that often come up in alt-text, including attention to language and word economy, alt-text as translation, structuring and prioritizing, subjectivity, identity, and representation.



Archival Video (Vimeo)
Session Presentation (PDF)
Writing prompts + Discussion questions (Google Docs)
Further Reading (Google Docs)