Image Descriptions: A Quick Guide & How-To

What are image descriptions and why are they important? Guest writer Rebecca Marie Stout explains.

By Rebecca Marie Stout, guest writer

Image descriptions are necessary for blind, deafblind, low vision, visually impaired people as well as people with vision processing disorders, ADD / ADHD, other cognitive disorders. Not to mention people who have slow internet connections or limited memory in their devices.

People who use screen readers aren’t able to know what a picture looks like, or what images with text say without image descriptions or alt text; and other people who visually read need image descriptions to see or understand what is going on in images.

Image descriptions describe what an image looks like and / or says. The best (and usually easiest) way to include image descriptions is in the caption. You can write a brief explanation covering the basics or you can write a very detailed description – or something in between. You can also include your own commentary or quips if you so choose.

What to include in image descriptions:

  • Placement of objects
  • Surroundings
  • Colors
  • Image styling (photo, painting, meme, etc)
  • People in pictures – if known include race, gender/agender and names. If not known use gender-neutral pronouns and “presents as (feminine, masculine, androgynous)”. Same for race (“person of color” or “light complexion”). Include hair color or style, glasses, clothing – if important detail – and position of person or people. Also include emotions (smiling, crying, distant, etc)
  • Animals – if you want to get specific add color(s) and breed.
  • Placement of text and emojis

Where to write image descriptions:

Here are some links for further information and examples of writing an image description. There are also Facebook groups that provide community help with writing image descriptions. Join to get help and to help other people out when you can.

Link for more info and examples:

What is Alt Text: https://moz.com/learn/seo/alt-text
I used this to help write my post:
http://www.perkinselearning.org/technology/blog/how-write-alt-text-and-image-descriptions-visually-impaired

A little bit about our guest writer, Rebecca Marie Stout (she/they pronouns): Autistic, blind, living completely from bed, severely chronically ill, and badass truth teller. Check out their Facebook page “Constance Lee N. Payne” to learn more!

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Podcast Transcript: Episode 1 – Intro

Hey there! My name is Japheth Grimm, and I want to welcome you to our brand new Blind in Philadelphia Podcast! While this podcast is super shiny and new, I have been sharing about my blindness on social media since 2016. With the help of family, friends, and kindness from all over the world, I have been able to take on this big project of not just sharing my experiences with disability, but also creating a platform for others as well.

I’ve teamed up with other disabled people and we have been working on expanding Blind in Philadelphia to be much more than social media posts. We’re now able to take it further by creating a blog and podcast centered around blindness, other disabilities, and intersectionality.

This isn’t going to be about any single aspect about disabilities, nor is it going to be about turning ourselves into something inspirational or create pity or some kind of cheesy awareness campaign. At least we hope not. Instead, we will be sharing insights into how we view ourselves and the world around us.

Now, I will tell you that at first it is going to appear a little inconsistent on timing when it comes to releasing new episodes but it’s totally going to be worth it. Some of these episodes will simply be the audio from our blog posts. For longer episodes and podcast series, we will have full transcripts and show notes available. So not only will our blog post be more accessible, this podcast will be too.

The great thing about us going ahead and releasing this intro episode is that this gives you plenty of time to subscribe to our podcast, check out the website and our social media pages, and let us know what you would like for us to cover. On both Facebook and Twitter, just search for Blind in Philadelphia. Be sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. You’ll also be able to get the link  for our blog there as well.

To help us out even more, check out the t-shirt fundraiser that we have going on right now. You’ll be able to learn more about that on the pinned posts of both Facebook and Twitter. That’s only running for a limited time, so be sure to get yourself a hoodie, t-shirt, or both just in time for the holiday season. All proceeds go to covering costs of the blog and podcast.

You can also help us out by becoming a Patron on Patreon. For as little as $2.50 a month, you can get exclusive updates and different perks per tier. To learn more, visit www.patreon.com/blindinphiladelphia.

Thank you very much for subscribing to our podcast, blog, and following us on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to tell your friends and family about the exciting things we have coming up. We’ve got a lot of great things coming soon that we’re excited to share with all of you.

That wraps it up for right now. Japheth Grimm for Blind in Philadelphia. I hope your day is kind to you. And don’t forget, you are beautiful.

Check out these Links:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/blindinphila
Twitter – https://twitter.com/BlindinPhila
Shirts and Hoodies (Limited time!) – https://www.bonfire.com/blindinphila
Patreon – 
www.patreon.com/blindinphiladelphia 

Show Notes:
Blind in Philadelphia Podcast
Episode 1: Intro
Released: November 26, 2018
Voiced by: Japheth Grimm
Music: “Hopeful Journey” by Scott Holmes

Thanks for listening!
Like, comment, and share!

What is Intersectionality?

What exactly does intersectionality mean? How does this impact people, and what does this have to do with disabilities? In this quick run-down, we’ll cover this and share why this is crucial to know and understand.

This podcast is available on: iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Soundcloud

Welcome to the new Blind in Philadelphia podcast, website, and blog! I’m glad you can join us as we’re just now getting started on publishing some insightful content that I hope you will enjoy and share!

[podcast transcript: This podcast episode will be one of many that will double as also being the accessible audio for a blog post we’ve shared with you on blindinphiladephia.com, so let’s jump right in!]

[reading of photo caption below]

It took me some time to decide on how I wanted to introduce the different ways that people experience disability within different marginalized groups of people. I figured the best way to start is to simply acknowledge there’s no set place to begin.

For example, how I experience low vision blindness can be vastly different than how someone else experiences their blindness. We’ll be featuring guest contributors so you can take it from them, giving you a chance to learn from their perspectives and amplify their truths.

Quite often, the first thing abled people tend think of is that our experiences primarily differ because others have vastly different misconceptions about blindness, and what it means to be disabled in the first place. While this is certainly something all disabled people deal with, it’s not entirely the first thing that affects us as a person. How people treat us based upon our race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, social status, and other differences have a greater impact as to what creates our identities as disabled people as well as how other people treat us.

These crossroads of different aspects of identities create intersectionality, which “identify how interlocking systems of power impact those who are most marginalized in society.”[1]

What exactly does that mean? How does this impact people, and what does this have to do with disabilities? Intersectionality, while beautiful, creates a complex form of “the haves vs the have-nots” within larger demographics of marginalized people. For example, it’s fairly common knowledge that people of colour are marginalized far more than white people. Transgender people are marginalized far more than cisgender people. Disabled people are marginalized far more than abled people, and so on.

Arguably, the more marginalized groups someone may be in, the more they will experience systemic discrimination. This results in being denied access to rights and resources more often than other people who are within a shared base demographic such as race, gender, and social status. For example, if someone is a white abled cisgender wealthy person, it is safe to say they won’t experience marginalization that’s anywhere close to a black disabled transgender person experiencing homelessness.

But before we get carried away in assuming that the quantity of overlapping marginalized groups is an absolute scale of how much someone is is likely to be discriminated against, it’s not nearly as important as understanding how people are affected and under what circumstances. Being able to recognise a ballpark idea of where your own privilege and fragility begins and ends is crucial to not only understanding yourself, but also being able to understand other people.

This is the purpose of our website, podcast, and blog. We hope to help you gain a better knowledge of how different groups of people experience disabilities and why. In upcoming episodes and blog posts, we will cover topics of intersectionality and feature some really awesome perspectives you’d likely not consider before.

Don’t forget to subscribe, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter so you’ll be able to catch the latest articles and updates.

Do you have a question for us at Blind in Philadelphia? Send us a message and we will answer in an upcoming post!

[podcast transcript:  And that concludes the third episode of the Blind in Philadelphia Podcast. Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast. As of right now, we are on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Soundcloud. To learn more, visit us at blindinphiladelphia.com. Please consider becoming a Patron on patreon.com/blindinphiladelphia.

Thanks again for listening. I’m Japheth Grimm. I hope your day is kind to you. Don’t forget, you are beautiful.]

Quoted content:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality, Retrieved 11 Nov 2018

Welcome to the Blog!

Hey there, and welcome to the Blind in Philadelphia WordPress Blog! I am a blind transgender person of colour, doing what I can to share about experiences as a blind person as well discuss other topics of disability and intersectionality. So far, we’ve been able to post a lot of great content on our Facebook page, so be sure to give us a Like there.

I’m very excited to partner up with other transgender disabled persons. We are working on more content to share with you such as photos, videos, podcasts, and articles but we’re going to need your help. If there’s any topic you’d like for us to cover, let us know through the Contact Us page. We also appreciate any financial support to help us cover the cost of publishing more content and awareness for our community.

Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy our blog!

Much love, Japheth Grimm (he/them pronouns)