Digital Inclusion

Advisory service and initiatives promoting inclusive practices.

Alt-Text as Poetry Workshop

Shannon Finnegan and Bojana Coklyat 

Alt-text is an essential part of web accessibility, making visual content accessible through short textual descriptions for blind and low-vision people who use screen reading software to access digital content. Alt-text is often overlooked altogether or understood through the lens of compliance, as an unwelcome burden to be met with minimum effort. How can we instead approach alt-text thoughtfully and creatively, while still prioritizing alt-text as an accessibility practice? In this workshop, led and developed by artists Bojana Coklyat and Shannon Finnegan, we will reframe alt-text as a type of poetry and practice writing it together. We will look at examples of poetic and creative approaches to alt-text, then do several writing exercises designed to focus on issues that often come up in alt-text, including attention to language and word economy, alt-text as translation, structuring and prioritizing, subjectivity, identity, and representation. The workshop can be scaled for different group sizes and is usually 1.5 or 2 hours. 

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