The “tl;dr” (“too long; didn’t read”): if you just want to know how to make text art accessible, just scroll down to the heading “How to make text art accessible”. If you want to know how to check for image descriptions on twitter, scroll down to heading “How to use image descriptions on Twitter”. But if you want to understand why this matters to me, read on!
I haven’t posted (here) a lot of the details but a few months ago I finally had to learn to really use the screen reader (VoiceOver) on my phone (iPhone). That’s because my vision, which has since been partly corrected with surgery in one eye, had gotten so bad that I couldn’t really read anything on my phone reliably, even when zoomed a lot. I’d been previously using it more for comfort and convenience to read, for example, a long article.
I also spend a lot of time on twitter and while I had previously learned that it was painful how often images of largely textual or graphical data get shared that I just couldn’t read, thus missing part of the point someone might be making, I hadn’t had to deal with the incredibly annoyance of text art with a screen reader. A recent text art meme you may have seen:
Menus locally are full of squash and pumpkin themed recipes. The fancy coffee seasonal drinks are often pumpkin spice themed. For some reason this made me decide to make fancy waffles this morning for family breakfast. Specifically “squash spice waffles topped with coconut cream and candied spiced pistachios” since that’s what worked out with what is on hand.
A few weeks ago I attempted chiles rellenos for the first time. If you’ve never had them, they are roasted and skinned peppers (often poblanos) that are de-seeded, then stuffed with something, often cheese in the United States, then battered and fried, and served with a savory-spicy tomato broth/sauce. Mine didn’t come out that pretty but it was an experience and they were delicious! I used the recipe from a Diana Kennedy book.
One thing that had always held me back was how to roast peppers. It’s not something I bother to do often and most books recommend an open flame which we don’t really have at home since we have an electric stove – and most of my adult life I’ve only had electric stoves. We got a decent crop of poblanos this year in the garden so I had to try them as they are a family favorite. So I looked up alternate ways and a broiler works really well: you put them on a sheet pan (no oil!) under the broiler until blistered, then turn over and let the other side blister. Note that part about a sheet pan – you can do a fairly large number all at once! See my lovely peppers:
What does this have to do with “paleo swamp gas”? Seattle City Council-member Mike O’Brien has proposed to ban natural gas installation in new housing and commercial development (see summary from SCC Insight). “But what about my charred peppers [eggplants, etc]?” was one of the immediate refrains.
My family went on a bike ride to the zoo and back. We live near I-90 and Rainier Ave S (just barely in “southeast” Seattle) and the zoo is on Phinney ridge just north of N 50th St. Depending on route, it’s just over 6 miles to 7 or more. We chose to go through downtown because that allowed us to use the new Dearborn protected bike lane (PBL) and the 2nd Ave PBL. I’ll try to gloss jargon at least once! People who have been biking a while forget that a lot of this stuff is kind of mystifying.
A few months ago, everyone in government and politics came to cut the ribbon on the new oil pipeline. Even the governor running for president came. But he didn’t mention carbon pollution or climate change. No one did in the endless speeches faithfully relayed to twitter where I tried not to read but could not turn away. We even had tours of the new facility!
Why were they so overjoyed about a late, over-budget, expensive oil pipeline?!?!