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Alt Text & Universal Design

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Alt Text & Universal Design

Bryan Gould's picture
Course organiser: Bryan Gould
About the Course Organiser: 

I conduct blindness-related research and development projects for the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM). Specifically, I work on issues related to how people who are blind or who have low vision (or any print limitations) access technology and various types of media. This includes websites, digital text books, television and films, museums, amusement parks and other venues.

Since the mid-nineties, I have written video and still-image descriptions, trained people in writing high-quality descriptions, conducted research into best practices and collaborated on several sets of publically available guidelines related to description and access to media.

Currently, I provide training sessions to digital talking book providers, multimedia publishers and state organizations providing alternative materials on how best to present complex images to meet the needs of students with print disabilities.

No of Seats: 
Course Status: 


Bryan Gould's picture
Aaron Zeckoski's picture
Chris Turner's picture
Dennis Riedel's picture
Ed Degeyter's picture
Ed De
Elena Ballesteros's picture
Fernando Navarro's picture
Lori Johnson's picture
Lucica Ibanescu's picture
Mireia R's picture
Muralidharan Rajendran's picture
michael okoli's picture
Anna Nielsen's picture
Pman12's picture
Shubham Gupta's picture
shai gol's picture
E.B.  DeBruin's picture
Vijay Gaur's picture
Marsha Vomastic's picture
How does a screen reader "read" a website? How do you add captions to web videos? What's Universal Design?


We'll review the basics of Web accessibility as they relate to users who are blind and have low vision. We'll test drive screen readers to see what they do well and what really trips them up.

Then we'll dive into creating meaningful image descriptions for people who are blind, including complex images like charts, graphs, tables and illustrations. We'll discuss what makes good alt text, when to leave @alt empty, and when to go way beyond @alt with @longdesc and other methods. There will be lots of opportunity to write and review image descriptions.

We will discuss how people who are blind and visually impaired gather information about the visual world and how this understanding can help you create image description appropriate for the intended audience, whether it's young children, high-school students or marine biologists.

In addition, we'll talk about the ways in which good description practices can do more than satisfy an accessibility-compliance checkbox.  We'll also review lots of free resources available through NCAM, WebAIM and other organizations that will be of help after the course is over.

Finally, we will discuss the future of universal design and image description in light of changes coming to DAISY, ePub and HTML 5, as well as the work of the DIAGRAM Center, which is dedicated to rapidly increasing the availability of high-quality image descriptions through improvements to authoring tools and digital readers.

Learning objectives

  1. Why accessibility and universal design are a good thing (for a wider audience than you might imagine.)
  2. How to make web pages and other digital media accessible for screen readers.
  3. How to write meaningful image descriptions.
  4. Have a toolbox of resources for making digitial media accessbile.



A very promising course. Big

Daniel Canet's picture
Daniel Canet
Thu, 2011-01-06 22:21

A very promising course.
Big up, Bryan.

I think we should try and see

Lucica Ibanescu's picture
Lucica Ibanescu
Thu, 2011-01-27 22:21

I think we should try and see if we can chat one day every week - I have a million questions :)

and then i will promise

mark vlove's picture
mark vlove
Mon, 2011-03-14 11:23

and then i will promise course too.
Free TV Series Online

I currently teach low vision

Robert Zeleznik's picture
Robert Zeleznik
Mon, 2011-03-14 04:46

I currently teach low vision students, and I am going to have to teach blind users using JAWS and Window Eyes. I hope this class is offered again and I can get into it.

Sorry to disappoint you, but

Lucica Ibanescu's picture
Lucica Ibanescu
Wed, 2011-03-16 14:17

Sorry to disappoint you, but this class was not about teaching us Jaws and Window Eyes - it's about writing the correct Alt attribute and captioning the videos.