You Got Your DEI in my Accessibility! Writing Inclusive and Equitable Alt Text for Diverse Communities
When it comes to web accessibility, providing quality alt text for images is paramount especially regarding photos of people. This naturally raises questions about whether aspects of person’s diversity and identity should be included in the alt description. Do we mention race? Gender? Visible disability? Do these aspects matter? This talk will review some of the recommended practices for providing accessible descriptions of people. How do we balance what is viewable in a photo while not wanting to misidentify a person? Do we want screen reader users to make the same mistakes a sighted person would? Can some of these recommended practices cause harm? What happens when the person in the image can provide their own self-description? Answering these accessibility questions taps into larger conversations taking place in libraries regarding cataloging, authorship, authority controls, and more.