Social Collaboration and Web Accessibility

Title: Mixed-Ability Collaboration for Accessible Photo Sharing
Authors: Reeti Mathur |, Dr. Erin Brady |
Status of Paper: Poster paper published at Assets 2018
Location: Galway, Ireland Oct 22-24, 2018
Link to ACM Digital Library:  

Certificate of participation on the left and myself presenting the poster on the right


Scope and Motivation

In our research with blind or visually impaired people (BVIP), we found that inaccessible media posts pertaining to photographs on social media can be a major factor causing frustration. For instance, if a photograph that is posted by a celebrity on Twitter misses an alternative text, and if the person with a visual impairment dearly follows the poster, they may be rather reluctant to comment on the post asking for textual descriptions. Also, these BVIP also hesitate to comment on anything which may seem otherwise or not related to the context of the photo if it is inaccessible. A social collaboration on the same platform between the BVIP and their sighted friends and family could be advantageous wherein these visually impaired people could easily route these inaccessible photos to known acquaintances requesting for descriptions instead of asking other social volunteers or web workers.

Another instance where photo-related posts may be inaccessible is from the user’s end itself. If the BVIP who own their photos are not sure of the context of the photo that they wish to upload later from their digital albums, they would find it beneficial to route these photos to a sighted friend or/and family member asking them to review and write appropriate and accurate alternative text for social media sites. They would not prefer to route it to other volunteers or web workers because of privacy issues and also the context of the photo. Also, though the Automatic Alt-Text (AAT) feature on Facebook generates automated descriptions, it still lacks the necessary details that can be achieved through this collaboration.



Currently, we are conducting a study activity by having the people with visual impairments collaborate on Facebook on their secret groups respectively. These groups of people with visual impairments and their sighted peers would review photos routed by the BVIP and also comment/edit appropriate alternative text to achieve social media accessibility. We are also conducting a pre-study activity and a post-study activity survey to learn about the collaborative experience of these groups.

This full paper will be under review for the Web4All (W4A) Conference this January.


Our Hypothesis
  1. Access inaccessible public photos
  2. Get photos reviewed
  3. Generate detailed descriptions of alternative text
  4. Inspire sighted community to post accessible photos



Poster at the Conference
Poster at the Conference
Poster at the Conference