Document Accessibility Unraveled
Chad Chelius and Dax Castro during an Accessibility Podcast with the Chax Chat Logo between them.

Chax Chat – Episode 10

Dax Castro
Welcome to another episode of Chax Chat. Join Chad Chelius and me Dax Castro, where each week we wax poetic about document accessibility topics, tips, and the struggle of remediation and compliance. So sit back, grab your favorite mug of whatever, and let’s get started.

Chad Chelius
Welcome, everyone. This week sponsor is CommonLook. Since 1999, CommonLook has been the world’s leading provider of professional PDF accessibility software and services. They guarantee standards compliance using their hybrid approach, testing, assessment, remediation, training and support. So we thank them for being our sponsor.

Chad Chelius
Dax, how are you doing today?

Dax Castro
I’m doing well, man. I am doing great. I am so glad that we are past last week Global Accessibility Awareness Day. I don’t know about you. But I spoke more. I had seven different speaking engagements on that week. It was nuts.

Chad Chelius
Yeah, yeah, it was a busy week. And, you know, as much as I always look forward to, you know, the speaking engagements, it’s, it’s always a relief when it’s finished. You know what I mean? Because there’s a lot of work that goes into it. You know, there’s no questioning that, you know, there’s a lot of work that goes into it a lot of planning a lot of preparation. And it just feels good to be over the hump. But, but it was a really great week, for sure.

Dax Castro
Well, and Creative Pro Week happened at the same time. So that was great. And, you know, I loved all the questions, and it was so good. And you know, but I’m just, I can breathe, I can you get a sigh of relief. And speaking of over the hump, guess who hit 1000 downloads? We did we did. We we hit 1000 downloads. So it’s basically we are this will be we are at Episode 10. Now, so we are at 1000 downloads and and that is so awesome to see.

Dax Castro
And you know, what’s funny is that, you know, I find a lot of people will start somewhere in the middle. Not, you know, not go back and listen to one but they might listen to seven or six. And you know, so for those people who are out there listening to not episode one, this is Episode 10. Go back and listen, because there’s some really great stuff that you definitely don’t want to miss.

Chad Chelius
Yeah, and I guess we should really thank our listeners for getting us there. Yeah, absolutely. We couldn’t do it without all of you. And and we’re really glad to hear that everybody’s enjoying the podcast and the content that we’re putting in it. And, you know, thank you all very much.

Dax Castro
Yeah, I see nothing but positive comments in the groups and in our Facebook group and on on LinkedIn. And I’m just keep those comments come. And, guys, if you’ve got stuff you want us to talk about, let us know. Um, speaking of which, someone did ask the question about alt text. And it was was interesting, because I know, we’ve covered this a little bit in each of the episodes, so kind of go back and listen to a few of them if you want. But I think if we take today to talk about alt text kind of in depth, because I think it’s something that just a lot of people struggle with man.

Chad Chelius
You know, it’s probably one of the most common questions I get when I do accessibility training for organizations, you know, it, you know, alternate text is not extremely complicated. But I think by nature, it is. It just covers a lot of of ground. You know, like a great example, I had one. One of my clients, she was doing this huge infographic in Illustrator, Dax. And she literally tagged the whole thing as a figure, and wrote a small novel of alternate text to describe that infographic. And it was an interesting approach. But you know, you and I understand there’s so many problems with that approach. Right?

Dax Castro
You know, I, you know, the one thing she I could tell you, she didn’t do what she didn’t test it with a screen reader. Because if she wrote a novel, she would hear about every 15th word or so the word graphic. So imagine, divide that novel by 15. And you’re gonna hear graphic 20 or 30 times in the middle of your description. Definitely not the user is I’m sure she was expecting.

Chad Chelius
Yep. Yeah. But But again, she was also a new user, right. And she was trying to put, she was trying to put her knowledge to practice and, and I can’t really blame her for her approach. But, you know, that is one of the challenges that we all face in the realm of accessibility. Right, you know, you think you’re doing the right thing. Until, you know, you learn or discover otherwise. And, and I think the information you just gave everybody is a really, really important one for them to to know about.

Dax Castro
Well, you know, it’s fine. It’s funny when I see people writing alt text, you know, the first question is always how much right? And you’re like, well I need to describe this image, or I need to describe this bar chart or I need to describe this map or whatever. And the amount of data that you’re going to try to insert into that alt text is gonna vary depending upon which type of object you’re trying to describe, you know. And so if I’ve got a pie chart with three segments, super easy for me to figure out what to say. But if I’ve got a bar chart with 20 different bars in it, and the three different data sets, how do you write that out? What do you say? How much is too much? What is too little? You know, and all of that.

Dax Castro
The biggest problem is who’s remediating who’s writing that alt text? Right? Because I know you’ve said in past 10 things, I’m the last person you want writing your own text, right? Because, you know, sometimes the, the, the most pertinent information isn’t clear. It might be the trend, but you might look at it and go, Oh, it’s because it ended at the high, right, or it ended, or it started at a lower whatever in between, and the other person is like, No, no, it’s the fact that it it rose by 25%. Over time, (right) you know, as remediators, how do we know? Right? (yep) We’re just guessing.

Chad Chelius
And so from a workflow perspective, I mean, and I’m adamant about this, I mean, the the the, the person who should be writing the alternate text is somebody who’s in an editorial role within your organization, you know, somebody whose job is to, you know, you know, create that message, the written word. And so why don’t we start at the bare bones stacks, what is the purpose of alternate text.

Dax Castro
So the purpose of alternate text is to provide an alternate description for it for assistive technology. Matter of fact, let’s go to WCAG. And I want to read

Chad Chelius
The definitive to give everybody the definitive term of what WCAG says about alternate text,

Dax Castro
Right. They call it text alternatives. And that’s actually guideline 1.1. And it says provide text alternatives for any non text content. So that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print Braille speech symbols, or simpler language. So the real point of alt of alternate text or text alternatives, is to provide a method by which it can be translated into other formats. Obviously, an image is a visual thing you look at it and see. So text alternative can, takes it away from simply being visual to something like Braille or large print or speech, or symbology, or a simpler language that people can understand who may have cognitive issues. Right? So that’s the general purpose of text alternatives.

Chad Chelius
Okay. And what I always tell people is, you know, you know, when you’re using alternative text to describe, you know, and again, it’s a variety of different things. It could be a photograph, it could be a chart, it could be a graph, we’re going to talk about all texture tables in a minute or two, right? But you know, what, what I always tell, you know, the students that I’m teaching is, you want to describe that image or that or that figure in its context, right?

Chad Chelius
Because I think too often people are like, you know, I’m photo of a group of people. And that’s typically not sufficient, right? for, for what you’re trying to convey. And, and what I always tell people to do is, is try to like, you know, say if you close your eyes and you read this alternative text, could you paint a picture in your mind of what they are describing?

Dax Castro
So I was I spoke at x accessibility Bay Area, this session this weekend, this past weekend. And one of the things we do as presenters when we have when we know we have a audiences visually impaired is you start out by describing yourself. I am a 50 year old man with dark hair, a goatee slightly graying, and I’m fairly heavyset.

Dax Castro
And yeah, that does exactly what you’re saying. It allows that person to paint a mental image of who was who speaking, right? Because we, you know, we talked about marking things as decorative, right? And doesn’t really matter what I look like, when it comes to listening to me speak about accessibility, probably not. But it gives a sense of experience to the user to be able to picture in their mind’s eye. Now that person may not have a really good idea of what the color gray is or what a goatee really looks like or whatever, but that’s for them to decide. That’s for them. You know, it allows them to create a mental picture of who you are.

Chad Chelius
Well and fundamentally right it’s about Equal Access for All right, right. And so you know as a and now, now here we are creating a podcast that is that is audio only. Right, so nobody can really see us. But if they go to our website, they can see a picture of what we look like and you know, get get an idea. But again, you know, alternative text is, is designed, you know, as a sighted user, when we’re reading a document, we have these the this imagery that is supporting the content.

Dax Castro
Well, Chad, now you’re making me now you’re making me want to go back and check the website, make sure I got the alt text that describes what we look like.

Chad Chelius
That’s a really good point. That’s a really good point. But But anyway, um, so So yeah, so that’s the job of alternate text. I think one of the biggest mistakes I see people making is they’ll say, Oh, well, I’m just copying the caption and pasting it in for the alternate text.

Dax Castro
I see that so often.

Chad Chelius
Yeah, yeah, no, I mean, I think people do it, because it’s an easy solution.

Dax Castro
You know, what you see all the time is, is that they say, you know, figure, if they take the figure label, and they just copy it right into the description. The problem is, is that the figure almost never is a description accurate enough to be considered alt text, because there isn’t there is a methodology that says, if your finger label describes the image in a way that would be sufficient for all text, then you could actually artifact the image itself. Because the image would be to repeat a repeat of the figure.

Dax Castro
So if the figure said figure 2.0, cars on a highway, mirror project site, right? That’s sufficient all text? That’s a description that would make sense. So why would you repeat that or purposely make it different saying, current, curved Highway near grassy field with blah, blah, blah, you know, house in the background, and projects that you don’t have to do that if the finger tag accurately describes the the image, but most often, the finger tag is anecdotal information about the figure about the image. And so you need both, you need to have a description of the image and the figure tag, but when you need, but if you have that figure tag has a sufficient description, then you can artifact the image. But it just means being purposeful about how you write those figures.

Chad Chelius
So for the benefit of our listeners, Dax right, so you’re saying we can artifact the figure, but then correct me if I’m wrong, but then you’re just going to have a caption, only, you’re not gonna have a figure attached to that caption. So is it okay to just have a caption read at, you know, a kind of a random location, not not really a random location, but at a certain location within the text,

Dax Castro
Right. But but a caption is not voiced as caption, when you’re listening to it in a screen meter. You if I put a paragraph under a photo or a caption under a photo, from a screen reader standpoint, you would not know the difference.

Chad Chelius
So it would be okay either way, right? I mean, even if I do have it tagged as a caption, it’s not like it’s voiced any differently.

Dax Castro
Exactly. So you, it’s not an associative thing. Like, you’re not going to get an error saying, hey, you’ve got a caption with no figure, right? Like a link annotation, right missing link annotation, where you’ve got a link, but no text to go with it, it’s going to give you an error. That’s not how it works for captions. Captions are simply just a, a coded label that says, hey, this belongs to a photo. But it doesn’t have a programmatic pair. The the figure tag itself doesn’t need to have the caption, and the caption doesn’t need to have the finger tag to work correctly.

Chad Chelius
That’s good information. That’s good information. And now so what what is the recommended length for alternate text Dax?

Dax Castro
So you’ll you’ll find that you’ll get varying answers, but the typical answer is between 200 and 250 characters think a tweet, right? But but the but the thing is, is that this used to be for a very specific reason. Because screen readers used to have a cap on how much text they would read when it came to alternate text. But now most screen readers have a lot longer if not infinite item, length of alt text, which is actually a problem.

Dax Castro
Because if you put too much alt text, most people aren’t checking with a screen reader. They don’t understand that every 15 to 20 words, depending upon what program you’re using. It’s gonna say the word graphic. And that’s to tell you, hey, you’re still inside the alt text description. Because how do you know when the alt text description ends? And you’re starting back on regular copy again, right? So they put that key, that cue word in there to let people know, hey, you’re still describing the image. And I can tell you, I’ve listened to alt text where that is in there, and it is so annoying.

Dax Castro
The other thing that people don’t understand is that you can’t pause or rewind alt text if I want to go back let’s say you give me a series of figures that are you know that you’re describing a pie chart and the pie charts got 10 different values in it and you’re walking through all 10. And I miss fat number five, and I want to go back and listen to it again, I’ve got to go back to the beginning, and listen to basically remove focus from the item and put focus back on it again, to hear the

Chad Chelius
And start from ground zero.

Dax Castro
Exactly. And you, you so it’s so frustrating if you write really long alt text that you have to start from the beginning again. So that’s why that 200 to 250 characters is in place. But I usually say between two and five sentences. No more than five and my book. If you have to describe it in more than five sentences, you need to either incorporate it into your body copy, or provide it as an expanded text in something like a appendix.

Chad Chelius
Okay. And Dax, like, at what point does that kick in that it’ll keep repeating the word graphic?

Dax Castro
Between 15 and 20 words every 15 and 20. words, if it’s longer than that, you’re going to hear graphic again, and it will just keep repeating

Chad Chelius
Yeah, interesting. Yeah. I mean, what makes this hard Dax is that none of the none of the recognized standards have a definitive. This is how you write alternate text. (Yep)

Chad Chelius
mean, like, there’s no like, cut and dry. And that’s what I think trips people up, you know, they want me to give them a black and white answer. This is how you write alternate text. And unfortunately, it’s one of those gray areas of accessibility. me that what we’re talking about right here? And now is the wreck do some recommended approaches. But there’s no definitive, you know, answer to the question. So right, that gets a little tricky.

Dax Castro
You know, I wrote a white paper on some best practices for alt text. Maybe we should pull that out. Let us know guys go to chaxchat.com and put a note in the comments saying whether or not you want us to release that, that help sheet on on Alternate Text Best Practices. And if we get enough people to comment, maybe we’ll we’ll throw it out there as a bonus to our our Chax Chat listeners.

Chad Chelius
Oh, that’s a nice, nice little handout you’re offering Dax, that’s great.

Dax Castro
Last time you offered your, your PDF Quick Fixes. So this time, it’s my turn to offer something.

Chad Chelius
There we go. There we go. Now, now getting back to alternate text, I mean, the other thing you can do with alternative text is you can utilize punctuation, to insert pauses in the text absolute right? Why don’t we talk about that? I mean, so, you know, we have you know, you can use a comma,

Dax Castro
Right, so commas are short pauses, and periods or long pauses. And sometimes you need that little extra break to differentiate one group of texts from another. Now, I wouldn’t recommend going.dot.dot.to put a bunch of pauses, right. But if you’re, but if you happen to put an extra period in there, you’re going to get a little longer pause, then, and I will tell you that I sometimes will use a period in between a series of data, if

Dax Castro
If I’m walking through data pairs, like North 25, South 16, East, you know, 32, I would use periods to separate those. Because if you listen to enough of those in a series, it starts to flip itself around. And now instead of North 25, South 16, you hear North, 25 South, 16 East, 32 West, and you’re Yes, you missed that association. So I use a period in between to help break those those phrases apart so that they’re a little bit more discernible. But you know, you’ll get people who are editorial who will look at the alt text and go, that’s not proper English. And I say, Yep, absolutely. (right). I’m writing for usability at that point. So

Chad Chelius
Yeah. Well, you know, the The other thing that we all need to remember, right, I mean, the end, the end, one of the big challenges with alternate text is, there is no structure within that alternate text, right? I mean, you know, every, everything we do with accessibility, we’re talking about the tag structure, right? We’re talking about assigning paragraphs and headings, and, and all of those things. And you know, I do I do a lot of work with XML data. And I equate alternate text to an XML. It’s called the sea data, which stands for character data, okay? And that just signifies just text, right? It’s just text and there’s no structure, no XML tags are recognized. alternate text is the same way we have no tag structure within that alternate text to provide any, any significant guidance for the reader,

Dax Castro
Right? No, absolutely. You know, it’s it’s funny. He You, you mentioned that a couple episodes ago, I forget what you were referring to. But you said, “This is why I drink.” I haven’t drank. I haven’t drank in 20 years. But I tell you, if I were ever to start drinking, again, alternate text would be why a drink, It would be the reason. Yeah, no. So many people just I’ve seen colons and dashes and hard returns and bullets inside all text, and you’re like, Look, guys, it’s not the same.

Dax Castro
Just give you two or three sentences that describe what’s going on. You know, and the approach of writing an appendix is really a great approach. Excuse me. When you use the appendix with with expanded descriptions, then you could go on forever to talk about what it is that you’re trying to get across in this graphic. Now, to be honest, it’s what you should have used inside your report, or inside your data, you know, inside your your first document to explain what’s going on. Because you really want to guide the user, a good storyteller always leads you to the answer, you know, and, and the same goes for alt text or describing an image or figure, you really should be doing that your body text. But if you need that extra room, make an appendix in the back and allow people to go in and read that at their leisure.

Dax Castro
And it makes for so much better of a user experience when you can, right, (right). So we were talking about? Well, we should really probably mention the formula that I use for for creating alt text that really seems to work for me. So I will, the first thing I do is define what it is that I’m trying to describe.

Dax Castro
Of course, you never start with photo of, but anything else, I’m going to declare what it is bar chart, pie graph, aerial map, heat map, whatever it is, right? And look at those axes and try to figure out what the data is. Maybe it’s number of sales, volume of sales over time. Right? So there’s my second piece. So it’s bar chart showing annual sales are monthly sales from January to December. Right. So I’ve described what it is, I’ve given the range. Now I’m going to choose, what am I? What is my main takeaway? Is it that there was a high or a low? Is that the trend? Is it that it stayed steady? All the way across? What is the main takeaway that I want people to get? And if you use that methodology, What is it? What’s the range? And what’s the takeaway? You’re gonna, you’re gonna find that you’re gonna build the right alt text for a lot of different graphic and linear data that has some kind of math to it at all some kind of value.

Dax Castro
When you’re talking about maps, and, and, and figure data that’s more graphic, use your legend as your as your cheat sheet, right? This is a map of California showing, and then you look at your legend, and then whatever’s listed in the legend, that’s important. You You talk about what that is, and maybe you, you know, focus on a couple of the items that are in the you know, that maybe it’s a map showing total crossings in California, showing the majority of total crossings in the Bay Area. Right, maybe that’s it. So you know, use that is a way to kind of walk through your alt text, and and provide a good, a good description. But again, everything’s different. And it’s all case by case. (yeah). But the more you do it, the better you get at it.

Chad Chelius
I mean, I know the challenge that I often have when I’m remediating a document, you know, I mean, I’m I’m an outside person, I’m not intimately familiar with this document. And so, you know, we talked about my joke about getting alternate texts from the clients in a previous episode. But the reality is like, in order to write sufficient alternate text, a lot of times I have to read a chunk of the document, to get to get a background of the supporting content. And really understand I mean, I do not like doing that, because some of these documents are really boring to me.

Chad Chelius
Like, I don’t want to know anything about these but but you know, sometimes that that is required and the what you had said about the graphs and the charts, that’s really important, because one of the questions I always ask myself is, what is this chart trying to convey? Right? Because sometimes people get wrapped up in in the details, when, in fact, the details are not the purpose of the graph, absolutely chart.

Chad Chelius
You know, the purpose of the chart is showing a trend over the last 12 months. So that’s how you need to describe it. You don’t need to describe, you know, January, there were 10 point 43 items, you know, February, and oftentimes those charts don’t even give you that information. The charts are not giving you specific data, they’re showing a trend you

Dax Castro
know, you bring up a good point Chad, in that charts are supposed to have for it to be an accessible bar chart, you’re supposed to have labels, it’s a cognitive barrier to assume that someone can look at that bar chart and move over to that level inside the bar chart and go, Okay, that’s 14 point 5 million, or 17, or 13, or whatever. So best practices for bar charts is that you actually include the data label in the bar value, but you’re right, the trend is most often the important part of it. Because if it’s every single data label, then you really need to include the table on top of it.

Chad Chelius
Well, and that’s where I was going to go to I mean, you know, if the if the actual value is what you’re trying to convey, then give me the table. And let me hide it behind the graph. And for accessibility, I’ll have the table read instead of the graph showing.

Dax Castro
Exactly. So awesome. (okay). What you know, the opposite. Well, I don’t know if it’s the opposite. The companion. Two alt text is actual text. Yeah, right. (yep). And I think a lot of people don’t understand kind of actual text chat. What’s your take on actual text and when to use it?

Chad Chelius
Yeah, yeah. So So I mean, actual text. And and I mean, this is, this is a great way to kind of remember what it does. I mean, with alternate text on the figure is always announced as a graphic when it’s read. So, you know, JAWS and NVDA are going to say graphic, and then whatever the alternate text was, that you have inserted on that graphic, where the job of actual text is to completely replace the figure, with the text that is defined in the actual text. Yeah, in the actual text field.

Chad Chelius
So I’ll give you a great example. Um, I recently did a document a document. And on the front cover, they had this, this really nice graphic. And, and part of the graphic was a figure was a graphic and part of it was actual text. And it made it really interesting, because what the, what the designer did is, is took the whole thing, and added alternate text to the graphic. And when I saw it, I was like, that’s, that’s really not a great experience, because that main heading should have been an H1. Right. And so that (right) is a bit of a problem. So what I did is I went in and modified it.

Chad Chelius
And and so um, so I’m gonna, like protect the client, because I do have an NDA with him. But like, let’s say, let’s say you said great hair and a great attitude, right? And the ampersand was a scissors, right, it was kind of like a creative way. And from a design standpoint is great. Sure. And so what I did is I changed it so that all of the text remained text, within I put the figure where the ampersand should be, and I added actual text to it. And, and the actual text, the word and so it was still tagged as a heading level one. But when it was read, it said, great hair and a great attitude.

Dax Castro
You know, what’s interesting chat is my approach to that would be slightly different than yours, which is great. And so I would have, I would have artifact ID, all of the text, except that the image and the second part of the heading, so that it would, and I would have just added the actual text to the first word. So if it was great hair, and what did you say it was great hair, and good.

Chad Chelius
I don’t remember, but that’s fine. That’s totally fine.

Dax Castro
So if you said great hair and good attitude, I will literally have just taken the word great. an artifact of the rest of it all, and then put actual text on great. And, and then put the whole phrase there because you really only need one piece to add the actual text. So your approach isn’t wrong by any means at all, it’s actually more technically correct, because you left the items that were text, the text that they are and only applied properly applied the the actual text to just the figure, which is totally, you know, appropriate.

Dax Castro
I just for me, I just need… (right) I just want a piece of it so that I can write the whole thing you know, out. So alternate, I get a lot of people who are like, oh, but I want I don’t have enough pieces on my graphic or or I’ve got text in my graphic. What part do I apply the alt text to? And I try to tell them it really doesn’t matter. As long as you grab one tiny little piece of it so that it’s represented in the tree. It doesn’t matter whether there’s 15 span tags inside your figure tag or you’ve artifacts deleted them all, because you just need the one level.

Chad Chelius
And I think the interesting thing to Dax with actual text is that you can apply actual text to a non figure. Right? It doesn’t have to be applied right finger on that could be used right creatively, in a number of ways, as well, I think we talked about that in a previous episode, where sometimes a screen reader will read an acronym really poorly, right? And so you could take, for example, an acronym. And you could either write spell out the acronym, or another approach, and we talked about this too, you could phonetically spell it, so that it voice the acronym correctly. Right challenge? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. There, there are challenges with that.

Dax Castro
So if you if you do that, and I’m a screen reader user, and I say, Okay, I want to know what that said letter my letter, it’s not going to read the original text that was on the page, it’s going to read the actual text that you put in. So if you put in de UHB, e, if is going to read that, because you tried to make it sound right. Right. So so with great power comes great responsibility, right?

Dax Castro
So we, we really have to, so what I try to do if I have acronyms that are spelled that sound wrong, because the screen readers getting them wrong, I’ll put periods in between or spaces in between, so that it keeps the integrity of the acronym, but it forces the screen reader to treat it as a separate character. And I usually run into that when I get acronyms that are more than five characters long. Okay, you know, that are that that are long acronym? Yes. You know,

Chad Chelius
Yeah. Now, that’s great. And, and then, of course, you know, the other the other great use of actual text is for math equations in an accessible PDF file, so and, and I am by no means a math whiz her. I’m…

Dax Castro
Come on Chad, you, you do trigonometry over breakfast, I know you

Chad Chelius
But you know, math equations present a unique challenge, because from a, from a text standpoint, a lot of times those those math elements can be voiced as a symbol, right, which, which is not conveying the true meaning of that symbol. So one, one method is to actually use actual text, and literally, properly describe that math equation using the, you know, square root symbol. And I know, you know, right, and if anybody hears that, you know, anybody listening is is really involved in in math, you know, we’d love to hear from you and how you’re addressing that situation with your files as well.

Dax Castro
It is definitely a hard thing, especially because most of us are not math professors. And how we would voice a math equation, I automatically punt. somebody gives me a document that has math equations in it, I immediately kick it back. And say, you need to write out how you want this to sound, write it out exactly as if you were telling me and if you can’t do it, call me and leave me a voicemail. And tell me what it is. And I’ll you know, I’ll dictate it out from your words.

Dax Castro
Because the problem is, is that I the order of operations is sometimes really important, it can totally change how a formula is written. Now, if it’s a standard formula equals mc squared, that is something that is a universal formula, you can sometimes say, using the formula for met, you know, for mass times energy or whatever, that the I don’t even know what the actual name of that formula is. But or brulees principle or you know, the law of motion or the Pythagorean Theorem, right?

Dax Castro
Those are known formulas that people in math would know what it is, right? So you can use that as a as a descriptor when it’s a known formula. But oftentimes, in the engineering world where I work, the technical documents have these formulas that are, you know, structural strength of concrete based on temperature, and you’re like, Okay, yeah, yeah, I don’t really know how to how to voice that out. And they’re using theta and pi and, and, and delta and all this stuff.

Dax Castro
And, you know, some of those symbols, depending upon the font don’t actually voice correctly. So even if it’s a linear, linear equation, that’s not multi line, you still have to check it with a screen reader and make sure that it comes out. Yeah,

Chad Chelius
Yeah, Dax. You just transported me back to seventh or eighth grade math class. I literally just remembered, Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. How you remember the order of operations. Right. So that’s funny. But yeah, so I do remember something from from high school.

Dax Castro
We had a great geometry teacher and he used to, he used to have all these different sayings for right triangles and you know, circumference of a square and all of that kind of Yeah, it was. He was great. He was great. Yeah, but we digress.

Dax Castro
Um, Chad, who’s on Twitter? We didn’t talk about who’s on data, right. Normally we do this in the middle of an episode. Here we are almost at the end. We almost forgot, but I will not let this go. Who’s on Twitter is one of our most talked about segments and our podcast. Yep. So who’s on Twitter today

Chad Chelius
So our who’s on Twitter today is Gareth Ford. Williams. His his Twitter tag is @GarethFW. And he is the head of accessibility for the BBC.

Dax Castro
The he is the ex-head of accessibility

Chad Chelius
Oh, I’m sorry. You’re right. I missed that little ex that was in front of it. Sorry, Dax.

Dax Castro
That is okay. So he is the ex head of accessibility. And the cool thing why we care about Gareth here. First of all, BBC has been doing accessibility long before it was ever popped. Right? They have been leaders in accessibility and making content accessible for a very long time. But Gareth wrote a book called The Little Book of accessibility, and it is so nice. It is it really is. He says, If I had a TARDIS and could travel back in time to 2005, which is when I founded the BBC digital accessibility team. 2005. Right. So he’s been doing this for a few years, what would I say to myself? And what advice would I give? This is a little book of quips tips and affirmations and truths that have helped me shape bbcs strategy and embed accessibility into its culture. And it’s literally just a book of little quips and, and accessibility sayings, um, invest enough time to shift the conversation from worthy to worthwhile, right. (yeah)

Dax Castro
Or let’s see, accessibility culture eats, WCAG compliance for breakfast. Right? And that’s, that is a nod to usability versus compliance, right? accessibility is emotional as much as it is functional and technical. But anyway, I don’t want to read all of these. It’s a great little book, go read it. We’ll post a link in the show notes. So you can go take a gander yourself, but Gareth is a great guy and 2005 to 2021. What’s that? 16 years? Yep. 16 years? No, yes. 16 years. My math. We’re just talking about math. I’m an idiot. Right. 16 years, he’s been doing accessibility for 16 years. The only person I know that’s been doing it for longer than that is probably Karen McCall. And then Bevy Chagnon who’ve been doing it. I think they started with stone tablets, right?

Chad Chelius
Oh… absolutely. Absolutely.

Dax Castro
She’s gonna kill me. She’s gonna kill me. But yeah, so go check him out. He is who’s on Twitter? Um, you know, Chad, we need to research some more about this math stuff. But, you know, in a previous segment, we talked about accessible comics. Yeah, yeah. And, and I will tell you that I have a guest lined up for us that is going that is someone who has created an accessible comic amor, he’s going to talk about his journey and some of the pitfalls and and struggles and, and things that he learned along the way. So you know, coming up in a podcast near us.

Chad Chelius
That that sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to speak with with with them about that.

Dax Castro
Yep. Awesome. And he’s in Germany right now. So we got to figure out the timezone difference to to make sure we get him when it’s not 2 am for us, or 2 am for him.

Chad Chelius
Germany six hours ahead of me nine hours ahead of you. So we’re gonna have to play a little… We are gonna have to do some math, Dax.

Dax Castro
I don’t know what started this all man, but I don’t know. Is that the weekend yet?

Chad Chelius
So once again, our sponsor for this week is CommonLook. And remember, since 1999, CommonLook has been the world’s leading provider of professional PDF accessibility software and services. They guarantee standards compliance using their hybrid approach – testing, assessment, remediation, training, as well as support. sponsor is CommonLook.

Dax Castro
Alright guys, I am Dax Castro.

Chad Chelius
And I am Chad Chelius

Dax Castro
And we are here to unravel accessibility for you. Thank you so much for joining us on this journey. And we’ll see you on our next podcast.

Chad Chelius
Thanks, guys.

No Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *