If you are like me, you love memes! You can sometimes go down a meme rabbit hole very easily, guffawing as a cat or Gene Wilder makes some sassy statements by making references to ‘90s pop culture. Often times, you may also speak in memes – sending them to your friends on iMessage and letting them know how you really feel. Who even uses words anymore?
The one thing about memes is that they are all visual since they are in the form of images or gifs. You need to be able to see them to understand the joke. However, the Internet is full of images without alt text – the tag that’s used by screen readers to describe an image. Because of the lack of this extremely vital information, people with visual impairment miss out on the fun and are unable to use memes in their daily conversations and be a part of this cultural phenomenon. To take care of this issue, Will Butler, VP of community at Be My Eyes, has started a new podcast called Say My Meme which literally describes memes to blind people. In each episode, cohost Caroline Desrosiers describes some famous memes to Will, who is legally blind. So Will and the audience get the same experience of getting in on this cultural expression at the same time!
The lack of alt tags in memes stems from the fact that they are created by regular people who may not always be aware of this very important accessibility feature. Besides describing memes to blind audience, Butler also hopes to raise awareness among the sighted on the importance of alt-tagging.
Here’s a taste of what these episodes are like:
Meme: Some Pig
Classic Art Meme (my favorite collection of memes on the Internet!)
Source: Fast Company