How to: Make your blog’s images more accessible

This tutorial explains how bloggers can make their images more accessible for people with visual impairments by adding ‘alt-text’. While most web accessibility tutorials assume that the all creators of web content code in raw HTML, it is 2009, and most bloggers today probably do not know HTML.

This tutorial also assumes that the blogger uses a blogging software (such as WordPress) and creates web content through a graphical interface. While this tutorial uses WordPress examples, the vast majority of this tutorial is applicable to any blogging software, content management system, and even to those who build webpages from scratch.

Tutorial

Understanding how to add ‘alt-text’ requires understanding how to edit a post in HTML mode, as well as understanding the structure of a HTML tag. These two prerequisites will be explained first. The content of this tutorial consists of the following sections:

  1. Accessing the HTML of your post
  2. Understanding HTML tags
  3. Adding ‘alt-text’ to images

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Howto: Post your Blogger comment actions on Twitter automatically

This tutorial shows you how to take a Blogger comment feed and output a new feed containing only your comments, formatted for twitterfeed. This is useful if you frequently comment on a Blogger blog and want your comment actions to be automatically posted on Twitter.

My last tutorial showed you how to use Yahoo! Pipes to filter a WordPress comment feed so that it outputs a new feed containing only your comments. However, Blogger comment feeds require more processing than WordPress comment feeds to make the RSS items presentable as a twitterfeed tweet. (If you want the WordPress version of this tutorial, see the previous tutorial.)

The method in this tutorial creates the title of the feed item based on the blog post’s URL. For example, if I commented on Sweden expected to legalize gay marriage in May 2009 which has the URL http://gay-persons-of-color.blogspot.com/2009/01/sweden-expected-to-legalize-gay.html, the final tweet would be “commented on Sweden expected to legalize gay” with the URL appended at the end as a TinyURL link. Although the item title may not perfectly match the title of the original post (“Sweden expected to legalize gay” vs. “Sweden expected to legalize gay marriage in May 2009”), this method is easier and faster than extracting the real post title.

What you will need

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Howto: Post your WordPress blog comment actions on Twitter automatically

This tutorial shows you how to use Yahoo! Pipes and twitterfeed to automatically log your WordPress comments on Twitter.

Why it is useful to automate tweets

The great thing about Twitter is that it asks you, “What are you doing?”, and no update status is too trivial. If you are like me, you use Web 2.0 services outside of Twitter. If you are like me, you feed the RSS feeds of your blog posts, Wikipedia edits, and Delicious saves into Twitter via twitterfeed, so that whenever you blog, edit Wikipedia, or save a link to Delicious, your actions are logged on Twitter.

I also comment on other people’s blogs, and I thought it would be a great idea to keep track of my comments on Twitter. Some comment systems provide a RSS feed of your own comments, but most WordPress blogs provide only the RSS feed of all comments. I decided to use Yahoo! Pipes to filter the comment feed of my WordPress.com blog and output a new RSS feed containing only my comments.

What you will need

  • the WordPress comment feed of a WordPress blog on which you frequently comment. (The URL of a WordPress comment feed looks something like http://pddp.wordpress.com/comments/feed/. All WordPress.com blogs have a comment feed URL in this format.)
  • a Yahoo! account (free)
  • a twitterfeed account (free)
  • a Twitter account (free)

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