Martin Atkins (mart) wrote in suggestions,
Martin Atkins

Include alternative text for the cute little "talk" icons

Include alternative text for the cute little "talk" icons

Short, concise description of the idea
Add some kind of textual alternative for the little icons that can optionally be selected when posting a comment.

Full description of the idea
It seems common in this very suggestions community, and presumably in other places too, to use the little thumbup and thumbdown icons alongside a completely empty entry to indicate agreement or disagreement with a proposal. However, these little icons have no alternative text, meaning that the comment has absolutely no useful content to any user who for some reason cannot see images.

Some alternative text should be added to these images so that these users are able to discern the purpose of the comment.

An ordered list of benefits
  • Makes the comment icons more accessible
  • In line with web best practices
  • Current image elements, lacking an alt attribute altogether, are invalid.

An ordered list of problems/issues involved
  • What should the text say? "Thumbs up" might seem the obvious choice, but that's a visual gesture that might not hold any meaning for someone who has never seen it. On the other hand, we must be careful not to load the icons with too much meaning, as many users won't see the alternative text and thus not see what they're saying to a user that does not see images.
  • Where should the text come from? Ideally it should be translatable, as not all users can read English well. However, shouldn't an English comment always be displayed with an English caption regardless of the viewer's language? How do we know what language to use in that case?

An organized list, or a few short paragraphs detailing suggestions for implementation
  • Change the codings! lolz.
Tags: accessibility, comments, ~ submitted - needs retagging
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