If you right click on any image in this website you should see a haiku description.
What is alt text?
Alt text is a description of an image that appears if an image fails to load. I sometimes see it if my internet is really slow. As a web designer, alt text is the thing I should do but don’t often get around to. It is the finishing touches to a website the client does not see the value in. I try to sell it to them as being good for search engine optimisation but it is time consuming and often gets left out. In reality, alt text is the only way that some people can know what images are about. If you were to use a reader to access the internet it can only read out to you what information is there. So leaving alt tags out means that a huge section of the population won’t know what your images are. You can get a sense of what this is like by installing a Chrome extension called Chrome Vox. and then checking out this page. As a visual artist trying to communicate with tactile objects, it is really important that I make that communication accessible.
In the workshop with Shannon we practiced describing images she provided. The first was relatively easy, it had elements that stood out and the alt text could have just been a description. When we tried to write alt text for people it was harder. I had a picture of someone who looked like a friend of mine, but no one else would know that so writing it as alt text made no sense. Unless I turned it into haiku where everything makes so much no sense it works. At least when I write it.
Looks like my friend Claire
Glasses and grey hair tied back
I thought that although the general public don’t know what Claire looks like, the haiku still conveyed a sense of a lovely person with an open face who could be trusted.
I’m working through the website writing a haiku for each image. There are some duplicates because life is rather shorter than I would like but if you see any missing please let me know.
You can read more about the alt text as poetry project at alt-text-as-poetry.net
or visit the altHaiku Twitter bot.