Twitter's archive doesn't have alt text - but Mastodon's does!

The Twitter logo drawn in circles.

Because I don't trust Alan, the Hyperprat who now runs Twitter, I decided to download my Twitter archive before setting my account to dormant. About a decade ago, I wrote about how the Twitter archive works and where it is deficient. Things have got better, but there are still annoying limitations. For example, Hannah Kolbeck […]

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Woohoo! WordPress accepted my accessibility PR

Screenshot of a box to enter alt text. It is two lines high and is resizeable.

About 2.5 years ago I proposed a small accessibility improvement to WordPress. It has taken a bit longer than I'd hoped but, as of WordPress 6.1 it has been merged! Now, if you're using the Classic editor, you'll get a larger and resizeable box for entering alt text. Because the text entry uses <textarea> most […]

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Different ways to do separators in horizontal text

The HTML5 Logo.

Quite often on the web, you'll see a set of "things" with a separator between them. For example, at the top of this post, you'll see Thing 1 | Something Else | Another Thing. This provides clear visual separation between logical groups. But there are a couple of problems. Firstly, the separator character may not […]

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Adding a language tag to image elements

Text in a mixture of Chinese and English.

(You may already know this, but I didn't. Every day is a school day.) HTML has the concept of the lang attribute. It allows you to say that a specific element contains text in a specific human language. For example, this page starts with: <html lang="en-GB"> That says the entire page is written in English, […]

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3 years to fix bad alt text

HTML code. The alt text of the image is in Latin

Back in 2017, I noticed that the UK Post Office was doing very dodgy things with their alt text. Lots of their pages had this snippet of code: Rather than add properly accessible alt text, a developer added placeholder Latin text. Being a good webizen, I tried to report this. Hi Terence, we are looking […]

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Making Time More Accessible

Dev tools showing the HTML code behind the BBC news site.

There's an HTML element called <time>. It is a semantic element. That means robots can read and understand it. For example, if my code says: <p> The concert is <time datetime="2020-12-24">tomorrow</time> </p> Then the computer knows the specific date I'm talking about. A browser could offer to add the event to your calendar, or a […]

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"I could build that in five minutes!"

A digital watch.

It's rather dispiriting when you launch something, only to have people berate you for not launching sooner. A few months ago, I was involved in a medical questionnaire launch. Before it was released, I had several people send me polite (and not-so-polite) queries as to why it was taking so long. "I could build that […]

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Dark Mode and Transparent Images

A Hhrd to read image. The text is black, but so is most of the background. Bits have a white background.

Dark Mode is the new cool. Apps which automatically switch to an eye-friendly palette when lighting conditions are poor. Nifty! Most of the time, it's as simple as making the text a lightish colour, and the background a darkish colour. But all that fails when you use transparencies in images. Here's a quick example. Using […]

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Improving WordPress Video Accessibility

A video with an easy to see play button.

In order to provide a video playback UI, WordPress uses the excellent MediaElement library. Recently, I discovered a slightly annoying flaw - I couldn't see the play button! Here's a screenshot of the video UI. In the middle of this screenshot is a white play button. I have trouble seeing it, because the video's background […]

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A small accessibility improvement to WordPress

An upload screen - there's a large text box for the image description.

My mate, the accessibility specialist Léonie Watson, has this to say about how we improve the world, piece-by-piece: Accessibility doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be a little bit better than yesterday. Source: Twitter Damn straight! One of the best ways we can make tomorrow slightly better than today is by making […]

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