Hey, @ people who use screen readers/image descriptions:

Do you prefer long captions that describe every element of the image, or shorter captions that just cover the important/relative bits? or something else?

I'm trying to get better about writing image descriptions and wanna know what's most helpful/useful ๐Ÿ˜…

ยท 11 ยท 58 ยท 38

Oh wow, this really blew up overnight. Thank you all for your helpful answers!

General consensus seems to be to keep image descriptions to the point, so that's what I'll continue to do.

Of course, if you use a screen reader and prefer long, detailed image descriptions, I'd love to hear your thoughts as well!

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@serioussalad as a person who doesn't use a screen reader, I prefer just the relevant parts, to help me figure out what I'm looking at if it's not clear, or to explain the joke, etc. Anything more is a distraction.

@serioussalad It depends. When I'm writing descriptions I find it most helpful to think about why I'm sharing the picture. Is it to illustrate a point, tell part of a story, show off a selfie or my dog, whatever.

Some photos have more salient information than others, and that's okay. Just tell us what you want us to get out of the photo: is this selfie about your new outfit or your hair or your pose or the background, or any combination of those things? Tell us why you care about it.

@zensaiyuki I am one of the people the descriptions are for. I'm partially sighted and I make use of them all the time. That's why I answered the question, because it's the opinion of prior who use them that was being asked for. @serioussalad

@zensaiyuki Thanks. Other voices are sure welcome too; visual impairment is wide-ranging and can include mutually contradictory access needs, and of course people are always going to have their own preferences. I'm just one person. :) @serioussalad

@serioussalad my personal preference is a shorter one that just covers whatโ€™s important, but thatโ€™s just me.

@serioussalad Shorter descriptions are fine here. When looking at a picture, brains generally immediately identify certain parts as important, and focus on those first. Shorter descriptions help us do that, as well.
Though of course, it depends on what you're describing. If it's a poster, for example, the most important detail is what is on it, not the color of the paper or its thickness. If it's a flower, feel free to get more, well, flowery. :P

@serioussalad I think shorter descriptions are better because, even though I don't use a reader, I imagine having to read a novel-length description is kind of like "okay but what's the /point/"

Like if you want to show a picture of a happy dog, you can just say "a happy dog", it's not necessary to describe the background and the finer details other than the main point you're trying to get across, which in this example is "this is a happy dog"

@serioussalad do you mean description as in text of the primarily image post or as in HTML desc+alt text?

@serioussalad In that case give it everything you've got. Those who read the description obviously want more info. :D j/k It's a similar problem to presentation texts. Less is usually more, but useful info is useful. Gotta find the golden ratio.

@serioussalad according to my wife (a UX/UI designer who does a lot of accessibility work), it's best to keep it under a single tweet-length and to prioritize the most relevant information.

@serioussalad (of course, YMMV and neither of us uses a screen reader so I'm probably being a little obnoxious by answering this in the first place, but that's considered a good practice within her specific professional setting.)

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