Tags: photos

463

sparkline

Sunday, June 19th, 2022

Cameron smiling in front of Brighton’s futuristic-looking i360, a moving torus on a tall steel tower. Cameron clutching his cutlery and grinning over an overloaded plate of Sunday roast in a very British pub.

Giving @TheManInBlue a whistle-stop tour of Brighton.

Sunday, June 12th, 2022

A middle-aged woman playing fiddle in a pub. A young man perched on a stool playing fiddle while a young woman looks on from the bar. An elderly gent perched on a stool playing fiddle.

Fiddlers Roger, Rob, and Frances.

Friday, June 10th, 2022

The moon above a canal. In the foreground bicycles are lined up on a canal bridge. A canal at night, the still waters reflecting the lights from the houses on each side. A row of tall thin houses painted black with white windowsills. Herring in bread with raw onion and pickles.

A nice day in Amsterdam.

Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

A water-level view of one of Amsterdam’s tree-lined canals. A group of happy people socialising inside a boat.

Cruising the canals of Amsterdam with a bunch of CSS nerds.

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

Alt writing

I made the website for this year’s UX London by hand.

Well, that’s not entirely true. There’s exactly one build tool involved. I’m using Sergey to include global elements—the header and footer—something that’s still not possible in HTML.

So it’s minium viable static site generation rather than actual static files. It’s still very hands-on though and I enjoy that a lot; editing HTML and CSS directly without intermediary tools.

When I update the site, it’s usually to add a new speaker to the line-up (well, not any more now that the line up is complete). That involves marking up their bio and talk description. I also create a couple of different sized versions of their headshot to use with srcset. And of course I write an alt attribute to accompany that image.

By the way, Jake has an excellent article on writing alt text that uses the specific example of a conference site. It raises some very thought-provoking questions.

I enjoy writing alt text. I recently described how I updated my posting interface here on my own site to put a textarea for alt text front and centre for my notes with photos. Since then I’ve been enjoying the creative challenge of writing useful—but also evocative—alt text.

Some recent examples:

But when I was writing the alt text for the headshots on the UX London site, I started to feel a little disheartened. The more speakers were added to the line-up, the more I felt like I was repeating myself with the alt text. After a while they all seemed to be some variation on “This person looking at the camera, smiling” with maybe some detail on their hair or clothing.

  • Videha Sharma
    The beaming bearded face of Videha standing in front of the beautiful landscape of a riverbank.
  • Candi Williams
    Candi working on her laptop, looking at the camera with a smile.
  • Emma Parnell
    Emma smiling against a yellow background. She’s wearing glasses and has long straight hair.
  • John Bevan
    A monochrome portrait of John with a wry smile on his face, wearing a black turtleneck in the clichéd design tradition.
  • Laura Yarrow
    Laura smiling, wearing a chartreuse coloured top.
  • Adekunle Oduye
    A profile shot of Adekunle wearing a jacket and baseball cap standing outside.

The more speakers were added to the line-up, the harder I found it not to repeat myself. I wondered if this was all going to sound very same-y to anyone hearing them read aloud.

But then I realised, “Wait …these are kind of same-y images.”

By the very nature of the images—headshots of speakers—there wasn’t ever going to be that much visual variation. The experience of a sighted person looking at a page full of speakers is that after a while the images kind of blend together. So if the alt text also starts to sound a bit repetitive after a while, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. A screen reader user would be getting an equivalent experience.

That doesn’t mean it’s okay to have the same alt text for each image—they are all still different. But after I had that realisation I stopped being too hard on myself if I couldn’t come up with a completely new and original way to write the alt text.

And, I remind myself, writing alt text is like any other kind of writing. The more you do it, the better you get.

Sunday, May 8th, 2022

Jessica standing under a blue sky a green sea on one side and white chalk cliffs on the other. Jessica sitting on a green hillside under a blue sky.

By land and by sea.

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3 Picture 4

Walking through the countryside to the seaside.

Saturday, April 30th, 2022

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3 Picture 4

Got a good haul of vintage sci-fi classics: Christopher Priest, Brian Aldiss, and Leigh Brackett.

Thursday, April 28th, 2022

Picture 1 Picture 2

Went to church to see @LowTheBand.

❤️🎶

Thursday, April 21st, 2022

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3
map

Checked in at Barbican Centre. Barbicania

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Picture 1 Picture 2
map

Checked in at Kito Kito. Poke bowl — with Jessica

Sunday, April 10th, 2022

Picture 1 Picture 2

Walking to Lewes.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3 Picture 4

Bidding farewell to Edinburgh.

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

Picture 1 Picture 2

I received a very warm welcome from the University of Edinburgh Folk Society this evening—a lovely bunch of talented musicians!

Friday, March 18th, 2022

Picture 1 Picture 2

Heading back to Blighty after a very enriching @LDconf in New York with the @Clearleft crew.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2022

Picture 1 Picture 2

Getting ready for the show—Leading Design is back!

Friday, February 25th, 2022

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3 Picture 4
map

Checked in at Aniar. Birthday dinner — with Jessica

Picture 1 Picture 2
map

Checked in at Tigh Neachtain. Chowder time — with Jessica

Thursday, December 30th, 2021

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3 Picture 4

Road tripping.

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

Picture 1 Picture 2

Lola the luckdragon.