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Max and 99

Image Description for the visually impaired

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Has there always been instructions on image upload to include a description for the visually impaired readers? I never noticed this before. How are others describing their images? I would like to see examples. 

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2 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

Has there always been instructions on image upload to include a description for the visually impaired readers? I never noticed this before.

How are others describing their images? I would like to see examples. 

 

"If you add an image to your cache description, please describe your image to help the visually impaired who rely on screen readers."    

Things get added/removed with little notice, so this might have been there a while.   :)   

 - But I don't get it.  Someone does, please explain.  Thanks.

If you're "describing" a puzzle image, wouldn't that possibly drop some of the "D"  from the rating ?

I'm dyslexic, and this might well open up a whole lotta puzzles I never considered before, if someone has to explain it for me.    :D

Haven't met any "visually impaired" (other than other dyslexics) while caching yet, guess there has to be a few,  and really curious now whether there's so many that this had to be added.

 

 

 

Edited by cerberus1
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2 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

Haven't met any "visually impaired" (other than other dyslexics) while caching yet, guess there has to be a few,  and really curious now whether there's so many that this had to be added.

 

It's a reasonable requirement that a website should be accessible to any user. Image descriptions help users who have the content of screens read to them via software such as a screen reader. There are all sorts of reasons why this might be needed.

 

e2a: the UK's Royal National Institute for the Blind has some things to say about alt text (which is what this is): https://www.rnib.org.uk/accessibility-guidelines-alt-text-what-you-need-know

 

It's also really handy if an image doesn't load.

Edited by Blue Square Thing

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26 minutes ago, Blue Square Thing said:

 

It's a reasonable requirement that a website should be accessible to any user. Image descriptions help users who have the content of screens read to them via software such as a screen reader. There are all sorts of reasons why this might be needed.

 

e2a: the UK's Royal National Institute for the Blind has some things to say about alt text (which is what this is): https://www.rnib.org.uk/accessibility-guidelines-alt-text-what-you-need-know

 

It's also really handy if an image doesn't load.

 

I had a puzzle cache, now archived, where the key to the puzzle was an image of a newspaper front page containing a banner, headline and two columns of text. The solution to the puzzle was had by counting the commas in each sentence and paragraph, with subtle and not-so-subtle hints embedded here and there.

 

828f4c93-6953-45bd-9065-665cfe3f4ef2.png

 

So I'm wondering how you'd create a description that would be detailed enough for visually impaired cachers to be able to solve the puzzle without giving the solution away to everyone else. Even if it was done as plain text, do screen readers include punctuation in their reading? Or are puzzles that rely solely on visual clues in images unacceptable?

 

Oh, and I suppose one of my other puzzle caches, which has the clues in an audio file, would be equally problematic for hearing-impaired cachers. I'll have to think how I could provide an alternative text-based solution for that one, maybe embedding an ID3 tag containing the solution into the MP3 file would do it.

 

 

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I'd chalk up a puzzle like that to "you don't have to find every cache". Some caches can't be physically found by some people - at least without help. So I don't agree that every puzzle needs to be solvable by everyone including those who have an impairment.  Like everyone else, being unable to complete it alone means why not ask for help? No shame in that. Of course if the CO wants to make it solvable in multiple ways to accommodate impairment, all power to'em :) But I can't see it being a requirement.

Edited by thebruce0
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5 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

So I'm wondering how you'd create a description that would be detailed enough for visually impaired cachers to be able to solve the puzzle without giving the solution away to everyone else.

 

Exactly.    :)   I'd really like the help, but I wouldn't want it handed to me (and have passed on caches where this was done).  

I believe others may feel the same.  

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8 hours ago, cerberus1 said:
13 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

So I'm wondering how you'd create a description that would be detailed enough for visually impaired cachers to be able to solve the puzzle without giving the solution away to everyone else.

 

Exactly.    :)   I'd really like the help, but I wouldn't want it handed to me (and have passed on caches where this was done).  

I believe others may feel the same.  

 

I honestly think you're reading too much into this.  It says "please describe your image", not "please provide a solution to your puzzle".  I doubt, they even considered puzzles when they included the request.  Surely they're after "A view from the top of the mountain", "Ducks on the pond close to GZ", and such like?

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6 hours ago, IceColdUK said:

I doubt, they even considered puzzles when they included the request. 

 I too thought they just meant a general description of the image. When I first posted this it never occurred to me to use it for puzzle images.  I was hoping someone had used this feature and could give me an example of how they describe their photo. So far I haven't gotten any so maybe this is new. 

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6 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

I was hoping someone had used this feature and could give me an example of how they describe their photo.

For my EarthCache, I have four images. My ALT text isn't necessarily ideal, but here's what I did.

 

The photo of the groundwater recharge pond  uses ALT="Groundwater Recharge Pond".

 

The diagram of the aquifer structure uses ALT="Aquifer Structure". The structure is also described in the text of the cache description, so I didn't see the need to repeat that description in the ALT text, but I could have.

 

The two logos are basically images of text, so I use the text for the ALT attributes: ALT="Official EarthCache: The EarthCache program is coordinated by the Geological Society of America, in conjunction with Groundspeak." and ALT="Geocachers of the Bay Area" to be specific.

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On 11/10/2020 at 6:54 AM, barefootjeff said:

Oh, and I suppose one of my other puzzle caches, which has the clues in an audio file, would be equally problematic for hearing-impaired cachers. I'll have to think how I could provide an alternative text-based solution for that one, maybe embedding an ID3 tag containing the solution into the MP3 file would do it.

 

 

One of ours has an audio file puzzle.... it is actually easier to solve by looking at the waveforms in a sound editor, rather than listening to it IMO..... 

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9 minutes ago, lee737 said:

 

One of ours has an audio file puzzle.... it is actually easier to solve by looking at the waveforms in a sound editor, rather than listening to it IMO..... 

 

The bells, the bells! I solved that one audibly but, you're right, it's easier in a sound editor :). Which reminds me I still have to go up north and find that one.

 

I believe there are things that will convert audio files containing simple tunes into music score (if I recall correctly, one of the lecturers at university was playing with something like that back in the 1980s) so that could be a way for someone to solve my one if they can't hear it well enough.

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5 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Which reminds me I still have to go up north and find that one.

It's a bit unloved ATM, like most puzzles up here....

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11 hours ago, IceColdUK said:

 

I honestly think you're reading too much into this.  It says "please describe your image", not "please provide a solution to your puzzle".  I doubt, they even considered puzzles when they included the request.  Surely they're after "A view from the top of the mountain", "Ducks on the pond close to GZ", and such like?

 

Most of the time when I've put an image on a cache page it's been part of a puzzle, so I'm really wondering what sort of meaningful description you could put on those that would be of benefit to someone visually impaired. Just saying "puzzle picture" seems pretty pointless, but anything that goes further could defeat the purpose of the puzzle, unless I suppose it was an entry point to an equally difficult non-visual way to solve the puzzle. Sounds like a lot of hard work.

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46 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Most of the time when I've put an image on a cache page it's been part of a puzzle, so I'm really wondering what sort of meaningful description you could put on those that would be of benefit to someone visually impaired. Just saying "puzzle picture" seems pretty pointless, but anything that goes further could defeat the purpose of the puzzle, unless I suppose it was an entry point to an equally difficult non-visual way to solve the puzzle. Sounds like a lot of hard work.

 

Actually, I think something like ALT="puzzle image" would be perfectly fine. That lets someone know that the image is the puzzle.

 

If it's possible to represent the puzzle as text, then I would think the CO would represent it as text. (My own puzzle cache is an example.) Letting the reader know that the puzzle is an image is useful.

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23 minutes ago, niraD said:

If it's possible to represent the puzzle as text, then I would think the CO would represent it as text. (My own puzzle cache is an example.) Letting the reader know that the puzzle is an image is useful.

 

Ah.  one of my pet peeves.  COs who make images of text to make the puzzle "harder."  (pro tip: "tedious" is different from "harder.')

 

Hmm... maybe an ADA suit could fix those! :rolleyes:

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On 11/9/2020 at 7:54 PM, barefootjeff said:

 

I had a puzzle cache, now archived, where the key to the puzzle was an image of a newspaper front page containing a banner, headline and two columns of text. The solution to the puzzle was had by counting the commas in each sentence and paragraph, with subtle and not-so-subtle hints embedded here and there.

 

828f4c93-6953-45bd-9065-665cfe3f4ef2.png

 

So I'm wondering how you'd create a description that would be detailed enough for visually impaired cachers to be able to solve the puzzle without giving the solution away to everyone else. Even if it was done as plain text, do screen readers include punctuation in their reading? Or are puzzles that rely solely on visual clues in images unacceptable?

 

Oh, and I suppose one of my other puzzle caches, which has the clues in an audio file, would be equally problematic for hearing-impaired cachers. I'll have to think how I could provide an alternative text-based solution for that one, maybe embedding an ID3 tag containing the solution into the MP3 file would do it.

 

 

 

You can't use alt text for a puzzle like that. If you want to make that sort of thing accessible you have to have it as plain text either as well as or instead of the image. Or you could have an audio description perhaps, although I doubt that would solve the issue.

 

Alt text on the image to explain that it is an image of a newspaper report, however, makes the page itself more accessible and is a helpful thing to do. It's useful that GS have started to try to encourage it.

 

A transcript for the audio file would be helpful certainly.

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3 minutes ago, Blue Square Thing said:

 

You can't use alt text for a puzzle like that. If you want to make that sort of thing accessible you have to have it as plain text either as well as or instead of the image. Or you could have an audio description perhaps, although I doubt that would solve the issue.

 

Alt text on the image to explain that it is an image of a newspaper report, however, makes the page itself more accessible and is a helpful thing to do. It's useful that GS have started to try to encourage it.

 

A transcript for the audio file would be helpful certainly.

 

In my cases, the context of the surrounding description text makes it pretty clear the image is the puzzle. In the archived newspaper example I gave, the preceding text is:

 

"Have you seen today's paper?" Constable Cacher asked, knocking on Sheriff Plodfoot's door. "It's not good."

"Show me."

George Cacher handed it to him.

 

After the image there's some discussion between Plodfoot and Cacher about the contents of the article. So yes, maybe for completeness I could have put some alt text saying "newspaper image" but that wouldn't have helped a visually impaired cacher get any closer to putting their signature in the logbook, assuming that's the goal of the exercise. If we really want to be helpful, we have to provide an alternative way of solving the puzzle otherwise it's just platitudes.

 

For the audio one, it's notes played on a piano but writing those out as musical score or as a sequence of letters would kind of defeat the puzzle. Why would anyone try doing by ear when they can just read it staight off? I suppose that just means it's a bad puzzle, as for musicians it's a piece of cake but for someone tone-deaf (or actually deaf or relying on a cochlear implant) it'd be tough. I'm warming to the idea of an alternative word puzzle (a cipher perhaps that can just be plugged into Geocaching Toolbox) in an ID3 tag, but maybe that's a bit too obscure.

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Okay, I'm trying to put something helpful in the alt text fields of the images on my cache pages but this one really has me stumped. It's the field puzzle work sheet for a multi:

 

b2e303a8-237f-4009-8cf3-f219af0f2c19.png

 

How the heck do I describe in a few words what this image is trying to convey?

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The alt text for that should be something like "field puzzle work sheet". That is literally all that you are being requested to provide: to help people understand what's on the cache page. Now, if you additionally want to make your cache actually more findable by people with impaired vision, yeah you'd need to somehow write it out somehow.

 

If that is something you want to do then, after looking at the cache page to get more context, I would suggest using the waypoint notes as the place for textual representation of what's required at each waypoint. That may not be ideal for the visually impaired, butI feel it'd have the least impact on the flavour of your description.

 

In the textual description, you could use variables to represent the numbers that are meant to be used in the final coordinates (e.g. "Find the text HR REP [D][E][F] UM"). Then change the cache location to be visible waypoint (with just the coordinates hidden) so its note can show the way to get the final coordinates, e.g. S 33 HA.EGC E 151 DB.H[I+J]F

Edited by mustakorppi
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Project Naptha extension on Chrome is able to recognize text in images and you can select it and copy. Neat extension. Accuracy never guaranteed of course, and I'm not sure how it might support accessibility concerns, but for text-heavy images it could make capturing the text much easier.

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I expect most of you have noticed it already, but GCHQ put out an email today on this topic - perhaps in response to this thread?

 



Geocaching HQ is continuously working towards a more inclusive and accessible experience for all players. Today, we want to ask for your help to make cache pages more accessible.

If you have images on your cache page, your geocaching profile, or on any trackable pages—please consider adding alternative text to describe your image. This will help visually impaired players who rely on screen readers.

Here are two ways to add alternative text to images: Via the user friendly editor, or via the HTML source code.

Add alternative text with the user friendly editor

  • Right-click on the image.

  • Select Image properties.

  • Add your image description in the field ALTERNATIVE TEXT.

  • Select OK.

  • Select Save.

Tip: If the image is only for decoration, leave the alternative text field empty.

Add alternative text with HTML code

  • Find the HTML <img> tag.

  • Add the “alt” attribute. Syntax: <img alt="text">

Tip: If the image is only for decoration, use alt="", so that screen readers skip the image.

Thank you, and happy geocaching,
Geocaching HQ

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I'm guessing the announcement was already in the works. So this answers my question if the feature is new or I just never noticed it. 

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I am still scratching my head to understand how a visually impaired person can find geocache and enjoy it.

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18 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

In my cases, the context of the surrounding description text makes it pretty clear the image is the puzzle. In the archived newspaper example I gave, the preceding text is:

 

"Have you seen today's paper?" Constable Cacher asked, knocking on Sheriff Plodfoot's door. "It's not good."

"Show me."

George Cacher handed it to him.

 

After the image there's some discussion between Plodfoot and Cacher about the contents of the article. So yes, maybe for completeness I could have put some alt text saying "newspaper image" but that wouldn't have helped a visually impaired cacher get any closer to putting their signature in the logbook, assuming that's the goal of the exercise. If we really want to be helpful, we have to provide an alternative way of solving the puzzle otherwise it's just platitudes.

 

For the audio one, it's notes played on a piano but writing those out as musical score or as a sequence of letters would kind of defeat the puzzle. Why would anyone try doing by ear when they can just read it staight off? I suppose that just means it's a bad puzzle, as for musicians it's a piece of cake but for someone tone-deaf (or actually deaf or relying on a cochlear implant) it'd be tough. I'm warming to the idea of an alternative word puzzle (a cipher perhaps that can just be plugged into Geocaching Toolbox) in an ID3 tag, but maybe that's a bit too obscure.

 

Firstly: not everything like this can be made completely accessible. I have an audio puzzle that simply won't work with a transcript, for example.

 

The image should have alt text though. It will help people understand what's on the page - just that; it's not just platitudes I think; it just respects that the issue I think. Not that I had bothered to add alt text to any of my images in cache descriptions before - writing html in cache descriptions was complex enough (and I've whined written html for 20 years now) and ripped so much stuff out that I don't think I thought about it. Just needs: alt="image of newspaper article containing puzzle text" or something.

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24 minutes ago, Lynx Humble said:

I am still scratching my head to understand how a visually impaired person can find geocache and enjoy it.

 

Visual impairment covers a wide range of ability. I happened to be working through YouTube the other day and came across the woman who won the US version of masterchef - massively visually impaired but can cook at a good enough level to win a fairly significant cookery competition. If you can do that with sharp knives I reckon you'd be able to find most of my caches.

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18 minutes ago, Lynx Humble said:

I am still scratching my head to understand how a visually impaired person can find geocache and enjoy it.

Same here. And how having a image description will make the cache page more enjoyable for a visually impaired person. Does having a screen reader say "Ducks in pond near the cache" or "Spider" (Just some random ideas here) make the experience better or finding the cache that much easier?

The only time I could see it being helpful is if the puzzle is in the image. But still, it doesn't really do much other than inform you that you're gonna need help.

But I suppose I shouldn't complain about accessibility...

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I wonder how long it will be before someone sets a puzzle based on the image description being different to the actual image? (maybe it's already happened?!?!)


I suppose that could be a very bad thing for someone who is genuinely visually impaired and relying on that description, but I wonder whether TPTB will clamp down on it?

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46 minutes ago, Lynx Humble said:

I am still scratching my head to understand how a visually impaired person can find geocache and enjoy it.

There are many degrees of impairment, someone who might find it difficult to focus on a close up PC screen might be relatively OK with long distance, outdoor, natural light, so finding a cache would be OK but looking at closeup detail on an image could be a problem.

 

I have seen posts in the past (all be it many many years ago) from someone with severe visual impairment, who was a cacher.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Lynx Humble said:

I am still scratching my head to understand how a visually impaired person can find geocache and enjoy it.

Here’s a fully blind cacher being interviewed in a mega last year.

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2 hours ago, Blue Square Thing said:

The image should have alt text though. It will help people understand what's on the page - just that; it's not just platitudes I think; it just respects that the issue I think. Not that I had bothered to add alt text to any of my images in cache descriptions before - writing html in cache descriptions was complex enough (and I've whined written html for 20 years now) and ripped so much stuff out that I don't think I thought about it. Just needs: alt="image of newspaper article containing puzzle text" or something.

 

To me, this seems a bit like building a wheelchair ramp outside a building that's all steps on the inside. Good intentions, perhaps, but it doesn't solve the problem. If the alt text doesn't provide a way for someone using a screen reader to solve the puzzle, it's not really making that cache any more accessible to them.

Edited by barefootjeff
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41 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

To me, this seems a bit like building a wheelchair ramp outside a building that's all steps on the inside. Good intentions, perhaps, but it doesn't solve the problem. If the alt text doesn't provide a way for someone using a screen reader to solve the puzzle, it's not really making that cache any more accessible to them.

True. But there's a difference between an unknown image with no ALT text supplied, and an image with ALT="image required to solve graphical puzzle". In one case, the blind user is left to wonder, and in the other, the blind user knows what the situation is.

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2 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

To me, this seems a bit like building a wheelchair ramp outside a building that's all steps on the inside. Good intentions, perhaps, but it doesn't solve the problem. If the alt text doesn't provide a way for someone using a screen reader to solve the puzzle, it's not really making that cache any more accessible to them.

 

What niraD said in the first instance.

 

And then I wouldn't want to put limits on anyone's ability. If we allow people access they can do all sorts of things.

Edited by Blue Square Thing

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(This is a copy of the Topic I started in "How do I...", and Max and 99 thankfully directed me here.)

 

I applaud HQ's accessibility efforts with their recent suggestion for alt text for photos that matter - vs. "decorative" ones - on the cache page.  (I did wonder how the COs with lots of puzzles dependent on images would react, but that's not my situation at all.)  I really want to get this right, but how does one test whether it is without a screen reader?

 

For example, on the [currently disabled] cache GC75MXW , I edited the photo to add a description, and it does show the description ... but that's only if you go to the gallery... and I don't know if the screen reader would read that description.

 

I did edit the HTML to include a short description ... though it is a very detailed photo, so I'm not sure how helpful it's going to be.  I work in Mozilla, and when I inspected the photo it did show the alt text; however there was a warning for accessibility.

Quote

Clickable elements must be focusable and should have interactive semantics

If an element can be clicked with a pointing device, such as a mouse, then it should also be focusable using the keyboard, and the user should be able to do something by interacting with it.

An element is clickable if it has an onclick event handler defined. You can make it focusable by adding a tabindex=0 attribute value to it. You can make it operable with the keyboard by defining an onkeydown event handler; in most cases, the action taken by event handler should be the same for both types of events.

Ummm yeah.  Greek to me.

 

Really, I wouldn't worry too much about that, except that the photo contains a clue to a hint (and it's JUST a hint) and it would seem unfair for somebody not to be able to get that info.

 

Suggestions on how to overcome this obstacle ... or even if it is one?

Edited by VAVAPAM
why double dipping
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1 hour ago, VAVAPAM said:

For example, on the [currently disabled] cache GC75MXW , I edited the photo to add a description, and it does show the description ... but that's only if you go to the gallery... and I don't know if the screen reader would read that description.

 

A screen reader basically works through the html and reads the stuff it needs to read - primarily text that appears on the page. There are ways of skipping sections and so on if techniques such as heading tags are used. When it comes to an image it skips to the alt text and reads something like "Image: <the alt text>" and then continues on.

 

The issue in the warning you quote isn't related the alt text - that's fine. The issue relates to the fact that the image is clickable in order to enlarge it. From an accessibility point of view Firefox would like a user to be able to skip to the image using the keyboard - for example, to take into account those users who can not use a mouse or trackpad effectively.

 

In many systems you skip from link to link using the Tab key on the keyboard (so, load a webpage and start pressing tab and you should see the "focus" move from hyperlink to hyperlink (if you're using Safari you need to hold the Alt key down as well). You can do this on an online form as well so that you don't have to keep picking the mouse up to go to the next box to fill in.

 

The order that these links are skipped to is governed by something called the tab index. It's possible in some systems to prioritise the order that using Tab will work in. A tabindex of 0 will be the first (or joint first if there are more than one) section skipped to. For example, on the UK BBC website (https://www.bbc.co.uk) using tab reveals some interesting, and helpful, links in a different order than if the page were simply to skip from top to bottom - which is the default.

 

Looking at your cache page, I'm not even sure that it's possible to select the image using Tab - but I don't think this is your fault at all - it's probably a GC thing (the links don't show anywhere near as well as on the BBC page either - this is probably an area that Groundspeak could use working on when it has the opportunity). I don't even know if it's possible to put tabindex in the html and it work. The onkeydown even handler would allow a user the option of clicking, say, F8 and the image to open. That's, again, almost certainly impossible in the current cache description editor (which is probably a good thing fwiw).

 

tl;dr: The Alt text is OK. The other thing, for now I don't think there's anything you can do about this.

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3 minutes ago, Blue Square Thing said:

tl;dr: The Alt text is OK. The other thing, for now I don't think there's anything you can do about this.

 

Thank you checking it out, and for that complete description of what's going on there!

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One thing that I have noticed when adding the HTML for "this is just decorative, ignore" text is that the resulting text after saving removes the "" and just shows alt.

What I mean is:  alt="text" />  becomes alt />

 

I have tried this on a number of my caches, and the results are the same.  Does this matter?

 

Example:  https://coord.info/GC777D2

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I'm not sure - it's an interesting problem. I should imagine GS is removing the empty string (the "") because it "has no value" - although technically it does have value in this case.

 

It might be worth raising as a bug though - not sure if anyone from the tech peoples will read this.

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Technically "alt" is treated the same as alt="", when the browser isn't told to be strict. But good form, all attributes should be label="value" even if value is empty.  It's loosely valid form to just include "alt" with no = value.  Today, that should be caught and fixed to abide safely by strict standards (and be more compatible)

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Cache pages are html5. alt and alt="" are equally valid, as are label=value, label='value' and label="value" for that matter. 

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On 11/11/2020 at 5:09 PM, mustakorppi said:

In the textual description, you could use variables to represent the numbers that are meant to be used in the final coordinates (e.g. "Find the text HR REP [D][E][F] UM"). Then change the cache location to be visible waypoint (with just the coordinates hidden) so its note can show the way to get the final coordinates, e.g. S 33 HA.EGC E 151 DB.H[I+J]F

 

The formulas aren't as simple as that, as they involve taking digits from sums of digits (and in one case another sum of those sum digits) to fill in some of the coordinate values. Someone who needs to use a screen reader to access a cache page is unlikely to be able to use a notepad and pen to do their working out and this isn't the sort of thing you could easily do in your head after hearing a synthesised voice read out all the details.

 

b2e303a8-237f-4009-8cf3-f219af0f2c19.png

 

I'm thinking the best solution for this might be to create a screen reader friendly web form hosted on a third party site that allows the visually-impaired cacher to put in the raw numbers from each of the waypoints and it then does all the sums and spits out the coordinates. This isn't something I've ever coded, though, so some further research will be needed.

 

But even if I did something like that, I'm wondering how the visually impaired cacher would fare at the waypoints themselves. One of them is the identifying number on a railway signal but the signal is on the opposite side of the track to the platform and can only be viewed obliquely from a distance.

 

Signal.jpg.395184e8e2141d6bf0e5dd230a8d1606.jpg

 

Would someone whose vision is so poor they need to use a screen reader to access a website be able to read that sign? And if they can't, what's the goal we're trying to achieve by making the cache page screen reader friendly?

 

I suppose if I wanted to be blunt, I could just set the alt text to be "If you can't see this image, you can't solve the puzzle." I'm not sure how well that would go down, though.

 

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2 hours ago, mustakorppi said:

Cache pages are html5. alt and alt="" are equally valid, as are label=value, label='value' and label="value" for that matter. 

 

I should amend my comment.

I'm speaking of strict XHTML, which does require alt="" not merely alt.

HTML5 does allow for label only with no value, but should only be for boolean attributes, and it can still cause issues if not done properly; and it's just a good habit to get into, adding ="" if the property can exist as empty.

See 3.2.3.1 

IOW, for empty alt tags, use alt="" to be safe.

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2 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

Would someone whose vision is so poor they need to use a screen reader to access a website be able to read that sign? And if they can't, what's the goal we're trying to achieve by making the cache page screen reader friendly?

The goal of making the cache page screen reader friendly is to make the cache page readable by people using screen readers. 
 

I think it’s obvious that there are aspects to finding caches that not all of us can do. Being able to read the cache page is never a guarantee that you can find the cache. The blind cacher whose interview I linked above might not read a sign in the middle of railroad tracks, but he can ask a friend to do that. And that friend might not be able to do T5 climbs, but guess who is.

 

2 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

Someone who needs to use a screen reader to access a cache page is unlikely to be able to use a notepad and pen to do their working out and this isn't the sort of thing you could easily do in your head after hearing a synthesised voice read out all the details.

If a person’s hobby involves doing calculations, either they find a tool they can use or they get really good at doing it in their head. I don’t use a pen and paper either. This is not really your problem to solve.
 

2 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

I suppose if I wanted to be blunt, I could just set the alt text to be "If you can't see this image, you can't solve the puzzle." I'm not sure how well that would go down, though.

I already suggested a perfectly reasonable alt text. You also have the option of doing exactly nothing about this. So why exactly is going out of your way to be a dick to blind people an option you’re considering?

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14 minutes ago, mustakorppi said:

I already suggested a perfectly reasonable alt text. You also have the option of doing exactly nothing about this. So why exactly is going out of your way to be a dick to blind people an option you’re considering?

 

Really? I'm trying to find a way that makes solving the field puzzle and completing the find possible for someone who is visually impaired otherwise the whole thing seems a pretty pointless exercise. Your suggested text ("Find the text HR REP [D][E][F] UM") simply doesn't work because the workings are a lot more complex. The numbers on some of the signs have to be summed, then digits from the result of those sums become digits in the coordinates, except for one where the digits in the sum then have to be summed again first. There's no simple one line formula that will work, which is why I suggested a third party web form might be a solution. Or perhaps something like just stringing all the digits from the waypoints together and plugging that into Certitude as a keyword to get the coordinates. But if I did that, I might as well just get rid of the worksheet and let everyone do it that way.

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5 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

 

I should amend my comment.

I'm speaking of strict XHTML, which does require alt="" not merely alt.

HTML5 does allow for label only with no value, but should only be for boolean attributes, and it can still cause issues if not done properly; and it's just a good habit to get into, adding ="" if the property can exist as empty.

See 3.2.3.1 

IOW, for empty alt tags, use alt="" to be safe.

I believe you will find no support for these claims in the current HTML5 specification.
 

While XHTML may still have some specialist use cases, it has no direct relevance to the cache pages on geocaching.com. As in, those pages are not even attempting to be valid XHTML, nor do they have any reason to.

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3 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Your suggested text ("Find the text HR REP [D][E][F] UM") simply doesn't work because the workings are a lot more complex.

My suggested alt text was ”field puzzle work sheet”. That is exactly the kind of thing that people are being requested to add to their images. 
 

What you are quoting is my suggested addition to the note of the second waypoint, conditional on you wanting to rework your puzzle image to text, which you showed some interest in. For the first waypoint the note could be something like ”Find the first and second 3 digit strings and add them together to get A B C.” Or whatever it is you’re meant to do there. But this has nothing to do with adding descriptive alt text to images.

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1 hour ago, mustakorppi said:

My suggested alt text was ”field puzzle work sheet”. That is exactly the kind of thing that people are being requested to add to their images. 

 

The email said the goal is to make the cache pages a "more inclusive and accessible experience for all players" and, to me, that means someone using a screen reader ought to be able to obtain the same essential information from the alt text as someone looking at the image. Just saying it's a "field puzzle work sheet" doesn't even go close to achieving that, as the screen reader user is still no closer to solving the puzzle or finding the cache. On some of my image-based cache pages I've been able to do that, but this one and others like it are tough, which probably just means they were badly designed to start with. Given all the dramas with hosting images, it's probably best now to avoid them completely and stick to word ciphers or simple algebaic substitutions.

Edited by barefootjeff
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4 hours ago, mustakorppi said:

What you are quoting is my suggested addition to the note of the second waypoint, conditional on you wanting to rework your puzzle image to text, which you showed some interest in. For the first waypoint the note could be something like ”Find the first and second 3 digit strings and add them together to get A B C.” Or whatever it is you’re meant to do there. But this has nothing to do with adding descriptive alt text to images.

 

Okay, this is what I've come up with:

 

At the abode of Koo Lee Wong, find a sign showing Nabc+de. Peform that sum, yielding fgh. At the place by the river where hawks are buried, find a sign showing HR REP ijk UM. At the abode of Wanda Byne, find a sign showing TCMlm+nop. Perform that sum, yielding qrs, then calculate t=r+s. The cache is at South 33 qf.jlh East 151 ig.qtk.

 

I'm not sure what a screen reader will make of all that but it's about the best I can do for now. The mix of upper and lower case letters will probably throw them, but the actual signs at the railway stations have upper case letters on them and it was all I could think to do. Perhaps I should have used Greek letters for the numerals, but I don't know if you can do that in an alt text field or whether the screen readers would cope. Sheeze, what a mess.

 

Anyway, I look forward to reading the logs of all the visually impaired cachers doing the T4 trek along the clifftops to GZ.

Edited by barefootjeff
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1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

I look forward to reading the logs of all the visually impaired cachers doing the T4 trek along the clifftops to GZ.

Wow.

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2 hours ago, mustakorppi said:
3 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

I look forward to reading the logs of all the visually impaired cachers doing the T4 trek along the clifftops to GZ.

Wow.

 

Sorry for my sarcasm but, if the goal is to open up caching to those with visual and other impairments, it has to clear all the obstacles from viewing the cache page to finding the cache and completing the find. By all means encourage caches suitable for visually-impaired players but it has to go beyond just making the pages screen reader friendly, those pages also have to allow their puzzles to be solved and their caches to be found, otherwise it hasn't actually achieved anything and is just building the wheelchair ramp into the building full of steps. Labeling a puzzle image as "puzzzle image" doesn't open up anything.

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